“May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten”

Today is a lovely day, but I think I have a cold coming on so I’m lying low. My throat is scratchy and my body aches, but I really don’t feel all that bad yet so I figure I’m nipping it in the bud as Barney Fife used to say.

I am late today as I slept late and my usual Sunday call to my sister was for two hours. We talked about my grandparents and where they used to live and what we remembered. My mother’s parents lived for a long while in an apartment in East Boston. My sister remembers that on each side of the front steps was a decorative granite piece which was a perfect slide though it was a really short ride. I remember far more. The hallway went from one end of the apartment to the other. It always seemed dark to me as the bedroom doors off the hall were often closed. Stephen King could have used that hallway as a setting for one of his scarier novels. At one of  that hall was the kitchen. The living room and a small TV room were at the other end. I remember the kitchen was bright with windows, and the deep, white porcelain sink stood on pipes which were hidden by a skirt my grandmother had made. The table was near the windows.

At the other end of the hall was the living room which had a giant heater near the back wall. I remember it always made a hissing sound. That was where my great-grandfather’s rocking chair was and where he always sat. He was big and scary to me. He never talked to any of us grandchildren, but he always yelled at us to get out of his house. I think he was senile and had no idea how scary he was. We used to stand in the doorway for a minute to get up our courage then we’d run by him for all we were worth to get to the TV room. He’d yell but we knew he’d never leave his chair so we were safe.

It’s funny what we remember. The day-to-day things fade, but the extraordinary, the strange and the wonderful pieces stay longer. I think we’re lucky that way.

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14 Comments on ““May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten””

  1. olof1 Says:

    The warmest day so far this year here but not that much sunshine.
    If that hallway could be used by Stephen King he sure could use our cellar too. It smelled damp and parts of the floor was plain dirt, others were concrete. I always thought that someone had buried people where the floor was made of dirt 🙂 🙂 🙂

    My grandfather on my mothers side called all girls for Carolina and all boys for Kålle (pronounce that å like You should the o in boring). None of us had those names though and I think he did that because he never could remember who was who when we visited 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I’m happy you finally got a warm day. We would have had one too except for the breeze which kept the day cool.

      I think I would have thought the same thing about the cellar!

      That’s too funny about your grandfather. At least he was consistent!

      Enjoy your evening!

  2. Zoey & Me Says:

    I was fortunate to know my grandparents when they were not yet retired. When they died, we were too far away to even attend the funeral, once in Germany when my grand dad died in PA; another time my grandmother died in England when we were in New Jersey. Even Mom couldn’t make the trip and her Dad died at 99 when she was too old to travel. Our grandma on my Dad’s side died early of unknown causes. Most believe she had cancer. I’ve been in many a house Stephen King could write about. They all reminded me of homes for ghosts.

    • katry Says:

      Z&Me,
      I knew all my grandparents too but we liked my mother’s family and not my father’s. My father’s family was cold so we never liked going there. My dad’s father was the first relative I ever had who died. I was a senior in high school.

      My sister in Colorado is about the only family member who moved from New England. The rest of the family is pretty close. My mother and three of her brothers lived in the same town while her sisters were also near.

      The houses we’ve lived in never would have harbored ghosts as they were fairly new houses, but I think I would have loved a spooky place.

  3. Bob Says:

    Whenever my sister and I reminisce about our childhood I am amazed how her perceptions or memories differ from my own. This is especially true then it comes to remembering how we treated each other as kids.

    My maternal grandparents had a three story house in Brooklyn that was attached to an apartment house on one side and a row house on the other. They lived in the finished basement and first floor while renting out a small apartment above. The kitchen faced the backyard and had huge windows that made the room bright and cheery. My grandmother prepared all of the food on the kitchen table which had a glass top. Her only time saving device was a hand crank can opener. She prepared and cooked all the meals from scratch. The small fridge was across the room from the stove and the sink. She went to the butcher shop, dairy store and bakery daily.

    Her living room, which was at the front of the house was always darkened by thick drapes, heavy furniture and heavy rugs. The two rooms were connected by an archway. I always remember walking through the arch into the warmth and light of the kitchen from the dark living room. Along the side of the two rooms was a darkened hall that contained the stairs with closets underneath and a bathroom at the end next to the kitchen. I always remember the wonderful aromas that emanated from her kitchen morning, noon and night.

    For the first six years of my life we lived a few blocks from my grandmother’s house and I spent every weekday playing in the backyard in the shadow of the big apartment building next door. My grandfather had a ‘green thumb’ and he turned the small yard into a garden of rose bushes, fruit trees and shrubs with only a limited number of sunlight hours a day. My grandfather owned a tailor shop around the corner from the house and we eat lunch together every day. My grandfather could thread a sewing machine needle at eighty without glasses. He came from very hardy stock.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      How far apart in age are you? My sister who has hazy memories which are only partially correct is 7 years younger than I so she doesn’t put the pictures together exactly right.

      My maternal grandparents lived in a house with 3 floors. The bottom floor had only windows high up so it was dark. Every Sunday many of her married children came with their children to visit. One aunt is younger than I and an uncle is only 2 years older than I. The difference in age between the oldest and youngest was 25 years. My grandmother always had a huge pot of sphagetti on the stove for when we all came. She had cheese you needed to grate to go with it. That was the first time I ever grated my own cheese.

      We weren’t far from my father’s parents but they were not the drop in and visit type.

      I remeber how much fun it was to visit my mother’s parents who lived in a city.

      • Bob Says:

        My sister is three year younger. My one regret for not being born into an italian family was missing out on that big pot of pasta on Sundays.

  4. lilydark Says:

    The sun finally came out but it is much colder. It appears I am posting as Lilydark these days. Don’t know what happened.

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I never knew my father’s parents as they were both dead by the time he was 16 years old. My brothers and I both remember my mother’s father but I am the only one of us that remembers my mother’s mother. My brothers remember that we called her Nana but they don’t remember anything else. I remember the house and the yard and the little gesture she made with her hands when she thought we were being naughty. I remember her voice. I remember that she always gave us M&M’s in the summertime and they always melted in our hands. So much for truth in advertising. 🙂

    I live in an old house that might have ghosts but doesn’t. The only “ghosts” around here were spawns of Satan in the attic and mice in the cellar. The spawns have been exorcised. The mice have been, too, but sometimes they make another sortie because that’s what mice do in old houses.

    It was really nice here. Sunny and warm. I did some painting and then I hacked away at the vicious roses. The slaughter was significant but I came away with many lacerations.

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      We all have these bits of memories hanging around connected to one person or another. My sisters memories were different from mine because she was younger, and her interests at the huse were diferent. She liked to check out my grandmother’s vanity drawer. Ididn’t even know she had one. I loled to explore all around and my sister loved the yard. When we both our memories together, we have a wonderful pivture of my grandmother.

      The mice will always be here at one time or another. They are in every cape home. My brother used to say that anyone who claimed they had no mice just didn’t know they were there.

      It had that chill sea wind here today making the day cooler than it could have been.

  6. katry Says:

    Bob,
    We weren’t an Italian family. I think my grandmother served it as she was feeding so many people every Sunday, and it seemed more economical. Her last name was Gallagher!

    • Bob Says:

      I didn’t think that you were. But, when a big pot of spaghetti is boiling on the stove next to a pot of meat sauce, and the parmesan cheese is hand grated, everyone is Italian.


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