It still has a little white picket fence and an profusion of lovely plants growing all around. Some of my best childhood memories came from staying with my grandparents at this house. As a little girl I thought that front yard was huge but as an adult it has shrunk considerably. I would spend hours in that little yard with my brothers and cousins pushing around my baby doll stroller or playing ball (the old man that lived in the house to the left hated it when we would come to get a ball that had landed in his yard. He would watch from the window and come to the door to shoo us off as soon as we stepped onto his lawn. We were terrified of him. My oldest brother was always the one elected as brave enough and fast enough to run over and collect the ball before the old man caught sight of us, ha!) One of our favorite occupations was to scour the plants for snails. We would either have snail races or make the biggest pile we could and watch to see how long it took for them to crawl out from under each other and away back under the leaves.
This little grassy area was surrounded with a little picket fence as well. It was where my grandfather had his garden. He had grown up on a farm and I always remember him with a garden. It was here he planted vegetables and old fashioned flowers--sweet peas, nasturtiums and daisies. The little building in the back was a small apartment they kept rented for extra income. And around the corner to the right was a sidewalk that went to the back of the property which faced a vacant lot. The train tracks were across the lot and whenever we heard a train coming we would race around the back, across the alley on to the vacant lot where we would watch the train go by and count the cars.
This second little one bedroom apartment also belonged to my grandparents. You can see that the little doorway has been blocked off and moved around to the back but when I was a little girl this was the way in. Most of this cement area was grass with just a pathway to the front door. My dad was overseas when my oldest brother was born and my mother and he lived here until my father returned. When the apartment was empty we would sometimes come and stay there for a couple of weeks in the summertime. There were flowers and plants and stepping stones everywhere and in amongst all of the plantings is where the adults would hide colored eggs for all the grandchildren to find on Easter Sundays after church.
Of course some of the best memories were of the beach. It was just just two blocks from house. In those days there were more vacant lots and single beach houses. Our parents would walk us down and as we got older we were able to walk ourselves down as long as we went together.
There is an old apartment building right here by this lawn and I was happy to see the bricks still lining the lawn area. We would walk barefoot along these bricks on our way to and from the beach on a warm summer day.
When I was around 11 my grandmother suffered a massive stroke and though she lived for another 20 years she had to leave the house. Things changed after that. My grandfather remained at the house for a while but in a few years he too was ill and the house was sold. The people presently living there kindly invited me in to take a look around the inside and much has been updated and changed but I could still see my grandparents waiting to greet us on the front steps and my grandmother making pancakes in the morning from a simple recipe I still use or putting a huge Sunday dinner on the table when all the extended family and friends would be present. Much has changed. Most of our parents are with the Lord as are two of my brothers but the memories of warmth and love and laughter will always be a part of who I am.