I took a trip to Nashville last weekend to see my grandparents, who are still in assisted living and learning to come to terms with their new life. Nana has decided to sell the house, which means they will soon be tossing, donating, and selling their things.
It's hard to think about. The house is full of memories for me, starting especially with my move to Nashville for college. I used to visit frequently, sitting around the kitchen table with Nana, chatting about school, boys, friends…
Before I left for the airport I went around the house, capturing the places and things I remember so well…the things that say "Nana and Grandpa" to me.
Like this little cozy spot toward the front of the house. I used to love the light in this room. Nana and I would sit here for some of my visits, rattling on about this and that. There's a little candy dish on that chest that I used to pilfer from.
Around the corner is Grandpa's main perch in the house – his blue recliner. He was always kicked back, playing crosswords or reading the paper while recording some program on TV that was always blaring. He liked the idea of visiting, but I usually had to stare at the back of the paper or compete with Tom Brokaw. ;)
It's funny. I never really noticed this picture before now.
Grandpa spent all the time in the world with Evyn, though. Teaching her the people/steeple game. Evyn still talks about that.
Nana always said that room was too loud. But we had a lot of fun there…
This flag is on a shelf in that same room. Grandpa's kid brother Dick died in the war when they were just teenagers. A terrible burden Grandpa had to bear his whole life – that his little brother joined the war to be like his big brother.
Grandpa's room. Best described as a collection of collections (I'm just now noticing the assortment of travel clocks), my favorite being these photographs of everyone he loved most.
That's Grandpa in uniform on the far right.
And my little sister Lora as a baby.
Hey, look what I found.
Who take a picture of a bathroom? Me. Shortly after my husband and I married, he deployed. I came back to Nashville to live with Nana and Grandpa for a few months to pass the time and hang out with the friends I'd just moved away from two short months earlier. I used to get ready here each night, readying to visit someone at their new condo, or some new wine bar that had opened up in town. Nana would lean on the wall and visit with me, admiring what I'd picked to wear or noticing some new earrings I'd bought. I loved that part of the evening.
Nana's room. She liked to read the paper here. We'd sprawl out on her bed and rifle through the ads, picking our favorite things and talking about sales or gossiping some more. She'd bring out her Clinique samples and freebie cosmetic bags and share them with me.
In fact, she did that with Evyn on a trip we took last summer:
That phone on her nightstand, next to a calendar and pad of paper she used to organize her life. I was always a bit fascinated by it, such a perfect shade of aqua.
She had her own collection of frames and baubles. This is a favorite picture of mine. Lora is on the right, I'm on the left, undecided about "which monkey" I am (eyes, mouth, wha?).
Above the garage, Grandpa has a junk room. It's a bit like rings on a tree to go in there, castoff furniture and piles of suitcases and books. Lora and I used to play in there when we were younger. I'm not sure what will happen to this chalkboard on the wall. So I had to take a picture of it…
And, finally, this organ. Nana wanted me to have it but unfortunately there just isn't room in our house. Lora and I played here every time we visited as kids.
The house is quiet now. Still, and dusty. I was a little sad to pack up my camera and leave. But I'm grateful. That Nana and Grandpa are very much alive and doing well, considering. I have new memories. Gathering with them around the same wobbly table in the dining hall at their new place.
Walking them back to their separate rooms, just across the hall from each other, ironically even closer than at their house.
Nana didn't flinch when I took her picture this time. Even they are getting used to my antics.
I would have taken a picture in grandpa's room, but a picture of the back of the newspaper isn't that enthralling. Some things don't change much. 😉
Like his patriotism.