We have always been a close-knit family. I can remember going to family reunions as a kid and knowing each and every one of my 10,000 cousins by name, where they lived and which kid belonged to which aunt and uncle. We always had great fun. Going to Grandma Margaret's house was a holiday in itself.
We would usually arrive in the dark sometime after everyone else had gone to bed since our part of the family lived the farthest away (other than Uncle Arlon and Aunt Phyllis). Grandma would meet us in the kitchen and after lots of love and lots of hugs, would decide we were all hungry. I would open that refrigerator door and there would be nothing in there to eat. Within 15 minutes, Grandma would have a feast on the table. It was like magic. I still don't know how she did it.
Then we would all crash out on the floor. My favorite place to sleep was in Uncle Roy's room downstairs, but we all fought over who got to sleep in there and being the youngest, I didn't get to sleep there often. I think Dara slept there the most.
In the mornings, Grandma would wake us up with organ music. I don't mean on the record player or the radio. Grandma had a church organ in the living room and would wake up every morning and play songs of praise to God. To this day, I cannot listen to organ music without thinking of her.
In the basement of the house was an old pump organ. It was the most wonderful toy I ever saw. LOL! I know it really wasn't a toy, but I thought it was. I loved to play it, but didn't get the chance often since the older cousins didn't think I had any talent!
Also in the basement was a stack of Life magazines. They stood in a corner across from the coal furnace (which deserves a story unto itself). I don't know how many magazines there were, but it was a lot. Some of them in black & white, others in full color. I loved to sit and go through those magazines. I think they are part of the reason I learned to read so early: I really wanted to know what was in those magazines.
The only other items I truly remember in that house are the clock from the mantel (which chimed in the most beautiful fashion) and a griddle thant hung on the wall outside the only bathroom in the house.
Does anyone else remember that griddle? It had a picture of Grandma on it throwing the griddle. I guess she won some sort of competition for throwing the griddle the farthest. I used to stare at that griddle for hours and wonder who that woman was. She had no correlation to the Grandma I knew.
The organ and the magazines now reside at my mom and dad's house. The organ is a prominent part of their home and you can't miss it when you go to visit. I don't know if it still gets played, but I hope so. Maybe their great-granddaughter Jillian will get to play it when she gets a little older. As for the magazines, Dad has them tucked away somewhere safe. They are a true piece of American history. I would love to sit and read them all again.
I'm not sure where the clock is now. I assume one of the aunts has it. I hope it stll chimes for them.
The griddle? Well, it hangs in my kitchen now. I think Aunt Marilyn and Aunt Freda were astonished when I asked them to give it to me. For some reason, it represents Grandma to me. Those and her old aprons which I also have. Someday, I hope to turn those into a huge quilt. A quilt to remember Grandma by.