“Cities get built out of poet’s dreams.”

The day is again beautiful if you just look out the window, but if you go outside, dress warmly as it is only 29˚. I hurried when I got my paper and the mail from yesterday. I do need to go out later to get a few different cat food tastes to tempt Maddie. She’s hungry but not thrilled with the beef and liver. I can’t blame her. Liver would never thrill me either. She’s upstairs hiding again. I only got to give her one of her three meds this morning, the one slathered on her paw. As for the other two, she is getting wiser and checks my hands when I get near her.

My grandparents, my father’s parents, lived in the same town we did. They had a great old house on a street of old houses. I remember the smell of their house. It was the lingering aroma of my grandmother’s lilac perfume. Their kitchen had tall wooden cabinets, and I remember an ironing board hidden behind one long, skinny cabinet door. The closet in the kitchen always had bottles of root beer on the floor, but I don’t remember who drank it. The kitchen eating area was built in and so small we never ate there. We always ate in the dining room. I remember the furniture there was dark. A breakfront took up one wall. My grandmother stored her best dishes there. Another wall was all windows and right across from the neighbor’s back door. The chairs at the table were tall. For the longest time my feet didn’t touch the floor. The living room had a piano but no one knew how to play it. Their TV was a huge console in a light wooden cabinet. The mantle and fireplace were lovely but never saw a fire. The sun room was off the living room. It was a tiny room of all windows. A desk sat at one wall and two chairs with a table between were the rest of the furniture. My grandfather kept his pipe holder filled with pipes on that table. On the desk, there was a paperweight with an R embossed in gold. That was my favorite room.

My other grandparents also lived in an old house but in the city, in East Boston. We used to visit on Sundays. My father dropped us off at the house then he’d roam the streets looking for a parking space. The city was mesmerizing for me. All the houses were right beside each other, and every corner seemed to have a small store with an old lady behind the counter. We played in the street. I remember stick ball and using an old broom handle as a bat. The ball was half a pink rubber ball.

I loved visiting my city grandparents. We always felt welcomed. My father’s parents were aloof and lacked warmth. We visited them far less even though they were close at hand. They didn’t seem to know what to do with us or even what to say. When I was older, I never went with my dad to visit them. I doubt they even noticed.

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8 Comments on ““Cities get built out of poet’s dreams.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    My grandmother on my father’s side(called farmor in Swedish) was a quiet lady but loved when we came to visit but she lived so far away that we only met once a year. My grandmother on my mother’s side (called mormor in Swedish) was anything but quiet and if she didn’t talks she sang for her self. One summer my farmor came to visit my mormor for a week. My mormor couldn’t get more than a single word answer from my farmor no matter how she tried and at the end of the week she thought she would go insane 🙂 🙂

    Finally she said, do You like crosswords? and my farmor shone like the sun. The last thing my farmor said to my mormor before she left was that the week had been one of the best she had ever had 🙂 and my mormor could never understand that since farmor always was so quiet 🙂 🙂 🙂

    It is raining here and the predictions for tomorrow says rain all day. We might get some sunshine on Sunday but we’ll also have another storm passing by. I’m a bit tired of this winter now 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I always like to hear the differences between Sweden and the US. I found farmor and mormor really interesting. I’d have to say my father’s parents or my mother’s to differentiate between the grandparents.

      That was a great story about the visit.

      I don’t like days of raining in a row. It just starts to get depressing when you can’t do anything. We had an unbelievable storm last Tuesday that just pounded the roof. I was out when it became that downpour and got wet running into the house.

      Have a great evening!

  2. Hedley Says:

    I love the city, I love being on the pavement, The whole big city experience fits for me. Mrs MDH and I were in New York last weekend and walked. Drop us at Times Square we told the taxi driver and we walked up 6th into the mouth of the marching ladies.

    I know London, its easy for me, even after all these years away. I get a ridiculous amount of pleasure from heading out to the News Agent and coming back with a couple of morning papers. Heck I might even pick up a coffee for Mrs MDH. My college years were at the LSE, which meant crossing Waterloo Bridge, on to the Aldwich and in to Houghton Street. Walking across the Thames was sublime and goodness knows how many times I hummed Ray’s “Waterloo Sunset”

    There is a rhythm and motion to a good City. I hung for a while in Shanghai and headed into the commuter traffic on a bike. There is a cross city road that is only bikes and literally hundreds of us moved together as the lights welcomed the turning wheels. No-one passed, we all moved as one.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I too love cities especially their mornings. I’d get up and out early and walk a bit. I’d see trucks parked as they unloaded their cargo, smell bread baking and watch people hustle to work. I always felt as if the morning was really the heart of any city.

      I think London is the foreign city where I’ve spent the most time (excluding Accra, Ghana). I’d just walk around and see whatever was there. I’d shop at markets and stores on side streets. Boston is my favorite city but London isn’t far behind it.

      Accra in my PC day was still a quiet city which closed early. I remember walking at night and seeing men sitting together talking. I remember women by the side of the road selling food they were cooking in a large pot over a charcoal fire. Going to a movie meant sitting outside under the stars. On the corners were often small Lebanese restaurants selling cheap food, and I’d stop for hummus and falafel. I loved Accra.

  3. sprite Says:

    Are Maddie’s meds pills or liquids? We’ve had luck hiding liquid medicine in gravy and in baby food (both of which have also been useful in tempting unwell cats when nothing else would).

    • katry Says:

      sprite,
      Two are liquid and one is a gel which I put on her paw. The liquid is quite little as Maddie is so small a cat. I haven’t ever tried baby food or, but I think they might be good ideas. I have to go out anyway tomorrow so I’ll pick up the baby food.

      Thanks!

  4. Bob Says:

    Wow, what a fabulous musical line up today. Today was my automotive fix up day. My wife’s car got new tires and mine got it’s oil changed and tires rotated.

    My maternal grandparents lived in a private house in Brooklyn that appeared to be held up between two large apartment houses. The front stoop was made of concrete blocks covered in a kind of stucco painted gray with the white numbers 840 for the address. We used to call the place the battleship 840.

    My other grandparents lived in a basement apartment in my aunt and uncle’s house. Multigenerational houses were common back then. My mother’s youngest brother was a never married and lived with my grandparents until they died. Today we just ship them off to assisted living facilities if they have the money.

    Today was a cloudy day with a few sprinkles and the temperature was in the mid 60 degree range.

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Bob

      Mine had that oil change a few weeks back. Nothing else is due, but when it is, I’ll get a post card with suggested maintenance.

      My grandparents also had concrete stairs. What was great was they had a small grassy yard behind the house. The back of the yard had one wall of brick. It was the back of a church on the next street.

      My father’s mother, after my grandfather died, went into an apartment in an elderly complex. My father always called it wrinkle city. I have an uncle there now and an aunt who is 5 months younger than I am is also there. They were built when I was young enough to hate that they took away the woods and the swamp.

      We’ll be getting rain either Sunday or Monday. Tomorrow will be in the high 40’s, another heat wave.


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