My most precious memories growing up are the times I spent at my Grandma Lorene and Grandpa Dee’s house. They, along with most of my Mother’s family, lived in a small rural town that has just lately risen to the 4-digit mark in population. The town is small enough that everyone knows everyone else, and most of them are related.
My grandparents reared their six children (with a lot of visiting cousins and friends) in a 2-story house that sat on a huge plot of ground just spitting distance from the town’s square. The front yard was twice as big as the average yards today. Any time the grandkids were all there, we would be playing “steal-the-flag”. There were other games of kickball, volleyball, badminton, croquet, and every other game imaginable to a yard full of kids. We would sit under the apple tree eating the little green sour apples that fell to the ground, and ride our bikes up and down the sidewalk or all over town (that’s when towns were safe).
We could go on a walk by ourselves and we did often. We could walk up to the drugstore, the general store, and down to the ball field. We crossed the bridge that went over the creek and we climbed into the old theatre that was falling down. It had water in the basement and we climbed over the broken boards and rummaged through the rubble. I can’t believe we didn’t uncover a snake or fall into the water!
Our Christmases were spent with them (one year Santa Claus had to come to our house early, because my brother, my sister, and I got bikes for Christmas and Santa Claus couldn’t deliver them to my grandparent’s house). I remember sledding down the big hill in front of their house, which was actually the main road, and then coming in for homemade hot chocolate that burned my tongue so badly I couldn’t taste for two days.
But my most precious memory is the front porch. Grandma and Grandpa’s front porch reached all away across the front of their great big house and then wrapped around the whole side of the house. It was great! They had room for two swings and lots of chairs. But the swing is what I always sat in…with Grandma.
Grandma would sit in the swing and rock back and forth, back and forth, in a leisurely, methodical manner. And if we were fortunate, she would sing to us. She would sing songs that taught us about the Savior, and songs that would praise the Father, and sometimes some cute little ditty that she learned when she was a little girl.
All through my adult life, those recollections have been seeded in my memory, and when we built our front porch, the first thing we added was a swing. As I rock back and forth, I think of the sweet memories of childhood, wishing my Grandmother could come and rock with me. And though that wish may never come to fruition, when our grandchildren come to play in our great big yard and sit on our porch that stretches across the front of our house and eat the pears that drop to the ground from our pear trees, I find solace in knowing that I am blessed to continue the legacy that I received from my Grandma Lorene.
Recently I had a chance to visit my Grandmother at my Aunt’s house where she lives. I walked in and sat beside her in a two-seated glider. After a moment, she began to rock back and forth, back and forth…what memories! Sitting beside her, we rocked the afternoon away, talking, laughing, and just spending time together.
At 94 years old, my Grandmother still Rocks!