Sunday, June 5, 2011

Memories Evoked

As I was watching the movie, "Crimes of the Heart," I suddenly began to reminisce about my life back in Macon. Specifically, spending time at my grand parent's home.

Not that there was ever anything as scandalous as affairs, attempted murder, or a splash of insanity like in the movie (well.. none that was told to me!)- but there was something very "deja vu"  about the conversations, the decor and the accents.

I still remember how my Granny's house smelled. I am not talking about the newer house (if my family reads this,) I am talking about the original one, the one that my mother grew up in. I still remember every nook and cranny, every color, even specific conversations.

Her house was very old, and I assume looked very run down over the years. She and her husband (who I never met) built the house. It is where they raised their family, and my mom's family and so on. Gosh, just taking a moment to remember even the front porch blows my mind. Little flashes of memories come back to me. I remember the heat, the sweet tea, and the plants all around the front. I remember a blue car and an orange truck with a white top. I remember the roots of the trees in the front yard. For some reason, I believe I may have actually played with my little dolls around those roots.

I remember the side of the yard there was a (dog pen).. maybe.. and I remember the "big wheel" toys parked to the side. The living room had linoleum floors, and one big couch. There was an old tv in the corner of the room and a few other chairs facing the couch. I think there may have been an aquarium sitting on an old piano.

I think my Granny's room was to the left, it had two beds in it, and a very large vanity and chifferobe. The telephone was housed in there on a little side metal table (which is actually in my bedroom now.) She used to keep shells under her bed in these big white tubs. For whatever reason, I used to pull those shells out and play with them. I used to pretend I was selling them.. I probably got the idea from the tongue twister, "Sally Sells Seashells by the Seashore." Whenever I spent the night, this is the room I would sleep in. Never in the second bed, always with my Granny.

Through the door of the living room, you would find a large kitchen with a big kitchen table in the middle. Straight ahead was the frig with counters going around - window and sink on the other wall.. etc. Off the kitchen was my Papa & Grandma Betty's room. I remember it being dark in there - with all of their wood furniture. I actually have the chifferobe of theirs now.  For some reason, I remember how the sun used to cast these rays through their bedroom window. Being that it was an old house, I used to be fascinated by the specks of dust floating on those rays of sun.

Past the kitchen was a dark and decrepit hallway. To the left, the "red room" which used to belong to my Granny Terry, and across from it a narrow but long bathroom. Then there was a little porch off the hallway (more of a stoop) that lead to a huge garden. My grandfather grew all of his own food (veggies, etc.) He used to trade with the corner "Pik N Pay." He would take bags of veggies to the shop owner to sell, and in turn - my grandfather had "credit" to purchase anything else he needed.

I miss visiting my relatives. Nothing has ever been the same since they passed away. All of my childhood memories and idea of family comes from the time I spent there. The Sunday afternoon lunch, to the Christmas family gatherings, to playing outside with my cousins (all 2nd and 3rd cousins - mom was an only child.) I remember trying on my Granny's old dresses from the 20s, 30s and 40s, and I also remember always pulling my Grandma Betty's jewelry, make up and purses out to play with. They even taught me how to make paper dolls-  by cutting up sales papers and catalogues and creating my dream house. And always, without fail, Papa would always have 1 quart of fudge ripple ice cream and 1 bag of Golden Flake potato chips waiting on me. Not to mention, that black ceramic cookie jar full of those fudge stripe cookies. LOL

Typical meals consisted of a pot roast with potatoes. I am sure there were other southern specialities like: Granny's pound cake, pig brains (yes.. Granny ate them,) pig's feet, collard greens, mustard greens, snap peas..e tc. I would spend the evenings helping my Granny shell peas.

These strange flashes of the past are the memories I keep with me.

I think for years, I tried so hard to ignore the fact I was raised in the south. I hated it. I don't know if it came from spending some summers up north with my "other" cousins, that made me realize what people thought of us "down there." I always tried to put that side of my life away.

But the truth is.. when I entered my Granny's house, through the old, rusty screen door, the sweet tea, the bare feet, and yes - they watched Hee Haw on the weekends, and sometimes, my Papa (who drove an 18-wheeler truck) would play his Johnny Cash records... while my Granny fried Chicken and Catfish, and my Grandma Betty sat in her rocking chair watching the "stories".... yep...

Watching movies from the 80s that showed southerners in these old southern homes, eating various thing.. talking about stuff... it just brings back too many memories I had locked away somewhere.

Has that ever happened to you?


The Bipolar Diva said...

This post was awesome and has me thinking of my time being raised in the south. It's almost like you're talking about my family.

Kristine said...

I never knew you had those "other" cousins too!..when I was 3 or 4,we visited our New Englander family, My Aunt M.A(Mary Alice), used to have me repeat after her,the phrase"How Now Brown Cow" attempting to reverse my Southern accent.:-D Because Mom and Dad are from NH, I can't relate to most.I was raised the Yankee way, and yes, it's We didn't travel often to visit relatives, so I never had that familiar connection you get with Grands. and extended family, and never had close relationships with cousins that felt like siblings. I have No heritage here,I truly feel I have NEVER belonged...I married into the Classic, Large Southern family, so I know what I've missed and still yearn for, even after all these years...My siblings have escaped, I don't think I ever will...
There!!I've shared my secret!, "don't tell Nobody!"(the Hudson family motto)..haa.ha!! Kristine :-)


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