Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Remembering 1609 Miller

I am very blessed to have one of my grandparents still living. Not only is my Grandma Berger (my Mom's Mom) still living, she is living an amazing life. In her early 80's, she walks (miles), rides her bike, and does water aerobics. When you visit Grandma, be prepared to gain about 5 lbs. each day of your visit as she will have cooked for days in preparation of your arrival. She volunteers all over town and, until just recently, cared for a whole house and did the yard work, too. When I think about her, I feel loved and cozy and, truth be told, a bit tired.

Did you catch the part about Grandma caring for a whole house until just recently?

Here's my current dilemma: my sweet Grandma is currently homeless.

Before you start to belittle my parents or aunts and uncles (or even me) for not providing for Grandma and leaving her to fend for herself on the streets, hear me out. She's not actually physically homeless. In fact, she just moved into a great condo in her town. Grandma is homeless in MY MIND.

For 47 years or so, my Grandma lived at 1609 Miller in a small town in south-eastern Minnesota, which means that is the only home in which I've known her. My memories of the place run deep and wide. Not only did I spend much time there as a child, but I've also been very blessed to have been able to share the place with MY children. Since 1995, my kids and I (the Big Guy came along too when he could make it) have been able to spend several nights each year at 1609 Miller.

When I learned Grandma was moving to a new place, I was so happy for her! The reasons for her to make the change were many and good; the decision a wise one. Her new home will be less work and make her life easier. There are no stairs in her new home so worries of falling are gone and she can, hopefully, enjoy her active life injury free for many years to come. Grandma is excited to have a home much "newer" in years than her old one. It comes complete with her very first dishwasher and her first attached garage! On top of it all, the way in which the whole transaction took place has God's hand written all over it.

I know all this and yet, thinking about the move puts a lump in my throat and floods my mind with remembrances. Here's a bit of what is filling my head:

-Grandma standing in the driveway waving good-bye and crying every time we left
-the sweet yeasty smell of the bread drawer in the kitchen
-the white stucco with green trim that would scratch your arm if you brushed against it
-the tire swing on the old apple tree
-hugging my Grandpa for the last time in the living room
-snacks on the picnic table
-the cool feel of the red painted floor in the basement
-sleeping in the same bed my Mom slept in when she was a girl
-the basement floor covered with carpet squares - perfect for playing jumping games
-playing Sorry at the kitchen table
-the way the living room ceiling looked like the bottom of a swimming pool
-the mail slot in the front door
-getting my first and only spanking from Grandma in her bedroom
-the piece of concrete in the driveway where Grandpa let me write my name
-the raspberry bushes and eating the raspberries
-playing croquet in the back yard
-the old barn near the alley that seemed so mysterious
-the alphabetized (I kid you not) spice shelf and the cleanest junk drawer you've ever seen
-sleeping in Grandma's bed and giggling together for part of the night
-the toy drawer in the hall
-the green laundry hamper outside the bathroom door
-wrestling on the living room floor with my uncles
-the crowded kitchen table when we were all eating together
-the yellow boot mug - milk just tasted great from that thing!
-opening my first wedding present in the living room

Amazingly, my kids also have these same experiences at 1609 Miller, with a few exceptions -the stucco and barn are no longer, no wedding gifts have been opened or spankings received (not that they weren't deserved), and they've never hugged my Grandpa. I love knowing each one of the young'uns have spent the night talking and giggling in bed with their Great-Grandma!

But back to the homelessness problem...

Grandma Berger is homeless in my mind. I can't "see" her in a different home. There is no place on which to hang my memories of her. Yet. There are no memories of her new home yet.

I'm so thankful for the "yet" because, God willing, soon my family and I will invade Grandma's new home, receive her tight fierce hugs, eat her delicious food, laugh as we "Sorry" each other and see her tears as she waves us good-bye in the driveway.

There are more memories to be made and Grandma will no longer be homeless, but 1609 Miller will always be dear because of the laughter, love and people I found within.


  1. I shed a few tears myself right now as I read this. I love that my memories of the house are so similar to yours! Thanks for writing this Wendy! Love ya, Becky

  2. Radiant and spectacular. This is a beautiful treasure for you and your kids. Such a sweet, sweet post. Thanks for the beauty of sharing each detail. Hugs, m

  3. Thanks for sharing Wendy. I love your Grandma Berger too. I know I felt that way about my Grandmama's house. I think lots of people have strong attachments to grandparents homes, but as an Air Force Brat my attachment was even stronger because my home was constantly changing but theirs stayed the same. Your post makes me miss them but so thankful for the time that I got with them. :) Stacey

  4. Thanks Gals. I'd hug you if you'd come to visit, Boo.

    Stacey - your comments were part of what I've been thinking about - Grandma's house was the only constant "home" in my life with all the military moving. I actually had a paragraph in the post along those lines, but it just didnt' seem to fit.