Posted tagged ‘piano’

“I always give my grandkids a couple of quarters when they go home. It’s a bargain.”

June 14, 2015

The morning is cool. The sun comes and goes. No rain is predicted until tomorrow so the sun may be back to stay later. The usual morning quiet has been interrupted by the guy next door putting in a new slider. The house is a summer rental, and they seldom do any work on it so the old slider must have been in really bad shape. I just know my quiet has disappeared.

My grandparents, my father’s parents, lived in the same town as we did. We didn’t visit them as often as we did my city grandparents, but I remember staying over their house a couple of times. It seemed huge to me. I remember it well.

To get to the house from the sidewalk, you had to walk up a flight of stairs then a second fight at the house. The driveway was below the house. Rocks lined the tall side walls of the driveway which curved a bit just before the garage doors. It was not an easy driveway to maneuver. The kitchen was my favorite room. The cabinets were wooden and reached to the ceiling. A small closet might have held all sorts of stuff, but I only remember the bottles of root beer stored on the floor. There was a built in ironing board, a built in table with some chairs and a bench and a deep sink below the only window. The dining room was right off the kitchen and had a wall of windows. The dining room set matched: the chairs, the table, and the dish cabinet, that’s what I called it anyway. There was a piano in the living room but nobody knew how to play it. There was also a fireplace in the living room but it was never lit. Off the living room was a small sunroom with my grandfather’s desk, his pipe cabinet, a small table and two chairs. Upstairs were three bedrooms and the bath. My grandparent’s bedroom had stairs in the closet which led to the attic. My aunt’s former bedroom had matching wooden furniture in dark wood. I remember the bureau had a mirror. The third bedroom was small and had a door to a balcony too small to be used. On the garage level was the laundry room and another huge room lined with bench topped bookcases. I remember the garage was perfectly neat. Tools were hung and a work table was clean and clear.

The yard seemed huge even though the neighboring houses were close. The house next door had a big garden and rabbit hutches at the top of a hill. I don’t remember any rabbits. There was also a huge shade tree between the houses.

I sometimes drive down the street where the house is just because of the memories. The house sits on what would be an isthmus if it were surrounded by water. The isthmus is too narrow for the two sets of houses, one on each side of two roads, especially since there are now fences separating the yards. The house looks exactly the same.

“We are a noisy and blessed little family”

November 4, 2014

Today is the perfect fall day, sunny with crispness in the air. It is 57˚but without any wind it seems warmer. I have no front lawn just a bed of mostly pine needles and some yellow leaves. Even the front steps have disappeared. Many of the oak leaves are hanging on but have turned brown. The sun slants a different way so the shadows have changed position. Fall is ending and moving slowly toward winter.

When I look in the mirror, I see a face with wrinkles, laugh lines my aunt used to call them. I see my hair far more grey than brown, but I like it that way. If I’m not wearing my glasses, I see a blur. I am getting older.

I keep thinking about the old aunts for that’s what we called them. They were my mother’s aunts. I’d see them at some family parties and most times had to identify myself as Margaret’s oldest. Nobody called my mother Margaret except for them and my father’s mother. To everyone else she was always Chickie. One old aunt played the piano and everyone would stand around and sing. That’s how I learned the words to so many songs. My family wasn’t shy about singing. I can still see them standing at the piano each with a glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. My grandmother would sit in the comfiest chair and watch. She wasn’t a singer. My grandfather with drink in hand would be chatting with one person or another. My grandmother always kept an eye on him.

My mother’s family loved to party. Everyone lived close to one another so they all showed up for the festivities. I always felt lucky to be so close to my aunts and uncles, especially the old aunts.