Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Going Home

Hi Knitters,
I ended the day last Saturday visiting the homes of both sets of my grandparents in Anoka, Minnesota. My parents both grew up in Anoka. I spent a lot of time here in my younger years. I hadn't seen these homes for 20 years. I was nervous. It was a bittersweet moment for me. The memories of my younger parents and grandparents are still running through my mind days later. I knew it would make me sad to see these homes but I felt a strong need to go.

I used to walk through that very door straight into my grandma's kitchen. I can see the inside of that house so clearly. My favorite thing was when my mom and grandma and maybe an aunt or two would gather with a cup of hot coffee around the tiny kitchen table. The table was round and tucked into a corner. There were four bucket chairs that would swivel. The ladies would sit and tell stories. I would crowd in. Usually, being the youngest, I would get to sit in my mom's warm lap. I was mesmerized. The laughter and love was rich.

As kids, we spent so much time outside just playing and exploring, in all seasons, at times only coming inside to eat. I remember the yard and my grandma's enormous garden (which is now grass) as vividly as the inside of the house.

I remember looking at my grandma's hands while at the kitchen table. They were riddled with arthritis but I thought they were beautiful and hardworking. My mom, sister and I would always stay at this house when we visited. My two brothers and dad would stay on the other side of town (only a few minutes away) at the following house. We couldn't all fit in one house.
My parents and grandparents came from very humble beginnings but there was always plenty of love and support. They all traveled down many wonderful and difficult roads in life as we all do.

The journey that came before me was apparent and crystal clear last Saturday. The missing and longing over loss never fades. I remember every square inch of these homes like I was there yesterday.

...swirling memories. It was a touching day in Anoka, worlds away but so close.
best, susie
p.s. For my brother's 50th birthday gift I printed out about 20 photos of our grandparents' homes and put them in a little photo album to give to him. He is a sweet, nostalgic brother and he loved and studied the photos. I wanted to go to these homes mostly for him so I could show and tell him all about it.

21 comments:

Kar said...

How wonderful that you were able to go see those precious homes before having to go back home. Weren't our grandparents homes the absolute best. Thanks for sharing Susan! Who knew you had ties to Anoka. Small world. :)

Have a great day!
xxxx

Alison said...

Wow! I had no idea you were from the area! I still periodically drive by the house I grew up in, I totally get the nostalgia thing...
Sweet pictures!
Happy knitting-
ali

Amanda said...

That is so touching! My grandmother lived most of her life in Dallas, Texas, and the last time I visited her there, I was eight (25 years ago!). She passed away a year and a half ago, and my mom and I went down to Dallas for the funeral. It was amazing how familiar the house looked, even after all those years, and how vivid the memories are!

Anonymous said...

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Charles said...

This brought tears...you have a splendid way of writing that we can all feel and relate to. I loved all the posts from the weekend. Wish I could have come to one of the events, but I almost feel as if I were there! (Would like to have seen the new shoes...and I wonder how they worked?) Kristin

coffeechris said...

Susan,
How wonderful for you to be able to visit "the scared spaces". Our family like yours and many others I'm sure was always crowed in the kitchen telling stories. I love the image of you crowded in with the swivel chairs listening and being with the gals. Simple, sweet and the best times. Thank you for your great posts on your trip --and WHAT a trip it was. Best to you.

Miss Julep said...

Well done! What a wonderful gift for your brother!! And for you!

Ertman-Trowbridge Family said...

I did a very similar thing a few years ago. I returned to the house that my grandfather (whom I never met) built and where my father grew up. I took several pictures. I am very glad that you had this opportunity. Sometimes it is important to take a trip down memory lane.

Sandee said...

I have the bestest memories too of my Gram's house (a knitting and crocheting mentor for me), and of my Great Aunt Jessie's house. My grams house is no longer standing. After my dad and uncle sold it, it was torn down for something newer, but not as nice I am sure.

I was the only grandaughter of 6 grandkids for most of my life. I can remember on holidays that my family and my Uncle's family would all stay at that house. All 6 of us kids would be put to bed upstairs in the unfinished attic. We never lasted the night though. At somepoint, Aunty and Uncle would have to come up and displace a couple of my rowdy boy cousins to the first floor and then they would stay up on top with the rest of us kids to keep us quiet. There would be 12 of us in that house and only ONE bathroom!


I have nostalgia for my mom and step-dad's house too. They scrimped and saved and built it from the ground up and it was grand! My mom died in 1994 and my step dad moved about 10 years later. What is weird is that before he moved an ad agency used the house to film a commercial that is still shown on TV. I get weepy every time it comes on, but it is fun to see the kitchen and the steps that I used to hustle down to catch the school bus every morning.

I am so glad you visited the homes. Were you able to go inside?

Jennifer said...

What a lovely, lovely post. I almost felt like I was with you in your Grandma's kitchen. What wonderful memories to have. Hugs.

Ann Hiltner said...

Susan, I admire the respect you give to the important moments of daily living. Your appreciation for the memories and all that went into making them is palpable. Thanks for a lovely post.

Kate said...

Thanks for sharing all your wonderful memories with us - there really is something about the places (especially homes) we remember from childhood, isn't there?

Petit Filoux said...

What a lovely, lovely post. Thanks for sharing x

MarDee said...

Okay so you have now started my day off thinking of my Grandmama's house also. Every once in a while I will ride by just to look at it and remember all those fun weekends there. I often think if I ride by and it is for sale........well at least I would have to go in for a quick look back down memory lane. Thanks for making me have some wonderful memories this morning.

Laura said...

Your comments about your grandparents homes sure brought back memories for me about my grandparents home. I sure miss my grandmother. She passed away 11 years ago and I still miss her! She loved to knit, crochet, sew, garden and can her food. I got my love of sewing and knitting from her! I'm crocheting finally but no where near the expert she was - she made wonderful pot holders I still have:)
Laura T

Nicola said...

Aw bless! Such a wonderful thoughtful, respectful and loving post about your grandparents and family. You really honoured them by this.

Love the idea of the photo album for your brother - gives me a great idea for my own brother's 50th which is coming up soon. We're all sentimental in my family, so a photo album like this will be a big hit all 'round! Thanks for the tip.

grammynan said...

I did not just "like" this posting, I loved it. I have a recent picture of myself standing in the middle of a field (Savonburg, KS) by a large mulberry tree where my grandparents farmhouse used to be. Yes, nostalgia.

Julie P said...

Thank you Susan for such a wonderful post. My kids asked me what was wrong, since I had tears in my eyes. Just last week, I gave my 3 year old MnMs in a manor my grandmother gave to all of us grandkids. I didn't realize what I was doing til he scampered off with his little medicine measuring cup full of MnMs, and then the tears just flowed.

Any chance your book and trunk show will be in the northwest or by a miracle Alaska?

Annie said...

I'm so happy you were able to locate the homes! Things have change a bit I'm sure. After I left Shepherds Choice I realized where Fremont was. It's on the other side of the river where I live. It's weird to think we had probably crossed paths 20+ years ago. So good to see you.
Have a safe trip to your next destination!
Lesli

KnittySue said...

Sweet...I would love to journey back to my grandparents homes..they are still so fresh in my mind. I so miss those days when they were still here and I know their homes like the back of my hand.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
Happy Thanksgiving!

peaknits said...

This post gave me the chills - such wonderful mnemories. Thanks for sharing them!