September 2021 was highlighted by two events in my life. My parents sold their home on Lake Ida, and my granddaughter, Amelia, came to Lincoln and stayed for 17 days. The fact they happened at the same time made me reflect on my childhood.
Like everybody else in the world, I had grandparents. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with mine. When my parents sent me official word that they had signed all the paperwork and were closing the living on the lake era of their life, it caused me to think back to my days visiting my grandparents’ homes.
I can remember the smell of each home. They didn’t stink. They just had a particular smell that made you glad you had come to visit.
When the grandparents on the Chapin side moved into their apartment, the smell moved with them. I haven’t been in either house for over 22 years, but I can still smell them. It brings a smile to my face.
Both houses had basement staircases that made you focus on each step as you made your way down them.
If I close my eyes, I can imagine the refrigerators and their contents. Mainly the freezers because that is where one kept the dilly bars and the other one kept the ice cream.
Each of them had a “junk drawer” by the phone. I would never do something so anti-lean in our house, but I miss theirs.
My house doesn’t have a space reserved for 3 jacks, a super ball, various rubber bands, pens that once worked, half-used batteries, and decks of cards missing a couple of cards.
At the Stuhr farm, there was a metal plate to clean your shoes poured into the concrete. A box fan in every room. A dishwasher that served as a cutting board and a center island. (You needed to hook the hoses up to the sink each time you wanted to use it).
The Chapins’ lived in town, but their house had other unique features. The sink in the basement drained into a bucket under the sink. You then had to manually empty it when it was full. They had a rotary push mower that didn’t have a motor.
When my parents moved, I reminded them of everything I remembered about my grandparents’ houses and assured them my children would have similar memories from Lake Ida.
I can recall when our daughter Anne was young, and before she was old enough to understand family trees have two branches. A branch for Sue’s side and one for my side. She had a unique way of differentiating between the two sets of Grandparents. Anne called them Grandma with the boat puzzle and Grandma at the lake. (Trust me, Sue’s parents had a lot of things more fun than the wooden boat puzzle, but Anne was only 2 years old).
Then I thought of Amelia at my house. What was she going to remember about our house? I can’t wait to find out.
Am I going to be Grandpa at the golf course? Grandpa with a crazy dog? Grandpa with the red door? Who knows.
September taught me that looking back is fun. It can even bring a tear to your eye.
But looking forward is even better. It gives me a chance to make sure I stop and take the time to build some memories.
“There are far, far better things ahead than we leave behind. “ – C.S. Lewis