I always drive by my grandparents old house when I’m in Minnesota. My grandpa built it for he and my grandma shortly after they adopted my dad in the late 1950’s. My grandma was one of my very best friends, so I spent a lot of time there when I was a kid.
That’s me (on Easter in 1977) hunting for Easter eggs in the front yard. My grandma’s bedroom was on the other side of that black-shuttered window. She had two twin-sized beds in there. One for me, and one for her. When I stayed over night, we each stretched an arm out between the our beds so that we could hold hands as we fell asleep. I don’t remember my arm ever falling into the side of my bed though, so I’m guessing she waited for my arm to feel heavy, and then got up and out of bed to gently place it by my side. I sure wish I could ask her about that. Did she put my arm by my side on top of the covers? Did she tuck it under the covers? Did she kiss my forehead? I wonder about those things whenever I think about her.
I dream about being inside that house all the time these days. Do you do that? Dream about being in your childhood homes? I don’t always remember who is in the dream with me, but when I wake up, I swear, it feels like I was really there. They’re so vivid. I can see every room, as clear as a bell.
I decided to take a chance and write the folks who live in my grandparents old house the day we left to start driving to Minnesota a couple of weeks ago. Why not, right? I asked if it would be okay to swing by the house while we were in town. I included a copy of the photo above, and told them that my grandpa built the house- hoping they might recognize his name. (He built all but three of the houses on that cul-de-sac.)
I also included my blog and email addresses, and wouldn’t you know it, the second day we were in Minnesota, I got an email from the current owners. They said yes!
We drove to the house the very next day, and although it’s painted yellow and white now, it looks almost exactly like it did back when my grandparents lived there.
Stepping inside the (original) front door was surreal. Seeing my grandpa’s woodwork in pristine condition brought the biggest smile to my face! We forgot to bring our DSLR in, but I did snap a few photos with my cell phone while we were there:
Grandma used to set up the most beautiful Christmas tree in front of the window above. And I remember the carpet being a tightly-woven, off-white color…with a subtle scroll pattern in it. I can’t remember what she used to keep in that little cabinet, but what a great little place to hide tray tables these days, huh?
The first floor bathroom was such a treat to see, too. The super-soft harvest gold carpeting is gone, but I was delighted to find the original custom cabinets & fixtures in there…
(The linoleum, shower, wallpaper, and tile are all new additions.)
I was equally ecstatic when I discovered the custom cabinets and countertops my grandpa built were also in perfect condition in the kitchen, and the den still sported it’s original wall panelling and fireplace…
(The linoleum in the kitchen is new.)
I had to really choke back my emotions when Kevin started playing one of the new homeowner’s guitars down in the basement. I met Kevin in 2003, so he never got to meet my Grandma, but I think about how much she would have loved him all the time.
The trees on the “island” out front have been trimmed up from the ground quite a bit, but it was so fun to soak it up and think about all the times we played together out there.
I must have walked around that thing 500 times with my Grandma, and my dad said they used to play baseball on it when he was little.
It was one of the coolest experiences ever, and I’m so thankful the new owners were open to the idea of having us over for a visit!
They were a very friendly couple, and even invited us to stop by with our little one in the future. My grandparents are the inspiration behind my heart for adoption, so I can’t wait to bring sweet baby P to the home they built together!
Have you ever visited a home from your childhood?