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Wherein you will find posts with humor, photos, reviews, occasional rants and journalistic entries of interest to me alone but that I hope will touch you, the reader, in some way. I remain sincerely yours,
A Work in Progress

Monday, March 29, 2010

"If Going to Visit Your Grandparents Was the Thrill of Your Childhood"

This was recently posted on my favorite message boards and I replied there; but the flood of memories was so strong and so welcome that I felt it deserved more and so I am fleshing it out here for myself.

My grandparents lived in West Hyannisport in the summertime. I remember heading over there in the car and bouncing in my seat with excitement, literally getting butterflies in my stomach.  We didn't live far but it always seemed to take forever to get there. They had bought the place in the 40's as I recall and my Mom and her siblings grew up summering there.

Summer with my grandparents was sailing on the Wianno Sr. and picnic baskets with pickles and chips and my grandfather playing the harmonica while we sang old sea chanteys letting our feet skim the waves. 

They were Four Seas ice cream and penny candy at the Old Village store.  They were bocce and bluefish, croquet and bats in the car port eaves.

Visits at "Our House" meant cousins and archery and fishing and clamming with old Ked's on, and long lazy days on the beach and tar on the bottom of your feet from the walk home. 
Bathing the babies in the huge laundry sink and rinsing the dog with the hose.  Outboards clamped in garbage cans, tuning up for the season and Boston Whalers and dingys.

The old summer house bursting with bounty, it's row of high-bush blueberries, the grape arbor's purple clusters that made your nose tingle, picking beach plums with Mom and making jelly for days. Cattails and Red-Winged Blackbirds and sails in the distance.  Da's cutting flower gardens and weeding Dandelions.
Overnights in bedrooms that were my Mom's and her sister's and brother's.  Chamberpots under the beds and slightly musty comforters.  Morning smells of coffee percolating, grapefruit halves with sugar and Captain Crunch cereal. And the eagerly awaited signal,  "PSSST!"  that it was time to come jump in bed with them and have breakfast made by Da.

In the Fall, my grandmother was back to school shopping day. It was her S-A-L-E song and always a stop for Sanka and an apricot danish. It meant the closing of the summer house and a last family hurrah at Thanksgiving.  It was the torturous ritual of THE ANNUAL FAMILY PHOTO by my grandfather in the days before digital when we had to take any number of shots to make sure we got a good one.  He was a wonderful photographer but a total dictator about it.

And winter came and they would visit us.  "Shave and a haircut" went the horn and we would come flying.  My winter grandparents were peppermint Chicklets and mothballs and Chanel Number 5. Winter visits meant presents from exotic places and Nana's sealskin coat that always made me think of Narnia.  It was and remains the softest thing I ever felt and how we loved to wrap ourselves in it.

They are both gone now, my Nana of cancer far too early in "86" and my Da, not long ago at 100ish. 
The summer house is gone now too, sold and torn down for a trophy home. 
All I have left are my sensory recollections, my memories and a miniature of a painting they had done of "Our House".   

But I remember that thrill of being almost there, almost to my grandparents house.

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