Friday, September 26, 2014

Reflecting back on my teen years. Not a Jude update.

I had recorded several new shows tonight but I decided to watch one of my favorite movies "The Help". It's one of those movies that makes me sad but I think it's so important to watch. It also makes me reflect on my life with my grandparents because of all the props and scenery throughout the movie. I grew up with my grandparents from ages 14 -19. My grandmother was born in 1916 only two years after the Titanic sank (I used to give her a hard time about that ;) ). Have you ever seen the movie "Blast From The Past?" that was ME! It was like living in the modern era in a 1950's setting.

When you walked up to my grandparents one story house it was a beige color with brown shutters on the windows. There were large trees out front that lined the house and red rose bushes that lined the fences in the back. At Christmas time solid red Christmas lights laced around the outskirts of the roof and white lights lined the windows. Despite my grandfathers health he always got those red lights out.

The front door was so old it stuck a bit when you tried to open it and it squeaked a little as you pulled it back. The first room you saw was the living room. There was a leather "de-van" (as my grandmother called it) couch to the left. Then there were two recliners against the back wall that had a lamp in the middle of them. My grandparents would both sit there and watch TV together the majority of the day. My grandfather would go for a 2-3 mile walk a day, but other than that the only time they consistently moved around was Thursdays. Thursday was cleaning and shopping day. Thursday the house was stocked full of items that were SO unhealthy but made everyone very happy! Everyday when I came home from school my grandparents would be sitting in their recliners and they seemed so excited to see me. I was a huge handful as a teenager and I have always beat myself up for giving them a hard time. Now that I am older I reflect back and realize that I probably gave them a little extra life. I would crawl up in the living room in front of the TV as they sat in their recliners. I watched the very beginning of ER, Friends, The Cosby Show and more with my grandparents. My grandfather even got into 90210 with me and was VERY upset when Dylan was in his accident (ha). We all had long talks and I would always joke with my grandmother about how dusty her couch pillows were. I would beat them and dust would fly out and I would fall to the floor like death had taken over. We had many laughs, many long talks, and many tears. I will forever be grateful to them.

Their kitchen still had an old gas stove that you had to turn on and use a match to light. Picture me turning on the burning and hearing the three clicks of the lighter then throw the match and running. My grandfather was the professional lighter.......I was the scardy cat. So he was in charge of starting the stove. There was no dishwasher so we had to help wash everything by hand. The washing machine was inside the corner of the kitchen but the dryer was in the garage. So my grandparents scooped the wet laundry out of the washer and hauled it down the steps to the garage. There was a long wire line outside in case anything had to be air dried. I would tell my grandparents about the new modern day electronic devices, but they felt more comfortable with their old routine. So I followed along. Looking back I realize I experienced the 50's without living in them. I still remember walking through the kitchen and looking at the old yellow rotary dial phone that hung on the dark panel wall. The orange vinyl kitchen flooring that flowed into the shag carpet that lined the dining room and living room. You can get a picture of my description in an old high school photo of mine.

I had my own room and it was actually pretty large compared to today's standards however the total square footage of the house was fairly small. It was amazing that we lived in a very small house but it felt so big looking back. I had green shag carpet in my room and green paisley wallpaper. I loved it! In the bathroom everything was pink..........even the tile on the walls. We had a gas lighting furnace in the wall that I'm sure was discontinued in other homes due to a possible fire hazard! However my grandfather would light that little furnace every night prior to my bath time. I would walk in that bathroom and it felt as cozy as an electric blanket. I would spend hours soaking in the old deep tub they had. They would knock on the door to see if I was okay and I assured them I was.

I am so lucky. I got to listen to the viewpoint of people that actually lived through WW2, Vietnam, JFK, and so much more. I sat in the floor nestled into that shag carpet and listened to every single word of the captivating historical stories my grandparents told me but I never knew what a treasure those stories were.

My grandparents held my hand even if metaphorically through every part of my life. I had many tragedies that they were a part of and they tried to shelter me from. I guess the best depiction of them would be telling you about a dark and stormy night in Hurst Texas. As a child I was so afraid of storms. I happened to be staying with my grandparents when an awful storm hit when I was very little. They both sat on the couch and grabbed me and put me between me. They each put their arms around me and I gasped a little because I felt so loved. My grandmother said "Don't worry child it's just God reminding us we need a little rain". My grandfather hugged me tight and I felt so very loved. What a great feeling..........I will forever be grateful for it!

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