It's just too hard to turn into the driveway and not see my Grandma rush out onto their big porch, so happy to see us, and give us a big hug.
This trip I made myself go, and I'm glad I did.
One afternoon after a day of canning salsa, Mom and I drove down Maple Way Road to Grandma's house. We pulled in the driveway and parked in front of the garage. There was a nice man, with a very puzzled look on his face. Then my Mom got out of the car, and he broke into the nicest smile. His name is Reuben, and he and his lovely wife Olga now love and take care of Grandma's house.
I introduced myself as Ralph and Leona's granddaughter, and asked if it would be OK if I took a few pictures for a scrapbook. They were so warm and gracious, and said of course.
I walked up the sidewalk, past Granddad's roses.
The roses seem a little faded, not quite as many flowers. Of course, it's my memory that's faded. But nobody can grow roses like my Granddad could!
I continue up the sidewalk, and stop at the steps to the front porch. Oh, my. Big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, even now as I write this. I look up onto the porch--I want that screen door to open, and my Grandma to to be there! I just can't go up on that porch, not without my Grandma and a hug.
I compose myself, and walk around back to take a picture of Grandma's fruit cellar. My Dad built it for her in the early 1950's. The inside was lined with shelves spaced just perfect for pint and quart jars of home canned goods--and she kept them well stocked. My Grandma even made her own ketchup and maraschino cherries. I think I came by my love of canning honestly! It was always cool in the cellar, even on the hottest summer day. The cellar had a certain smell, I can remember it so clearly. I was tempted to ask Reuben and Olga to unlock the door so I could see if it still smelled the same. But that might have been a bit much! (And it would have sent me right over the edge, too!)
Here is the back "stoop" as my Auntie Mae called it. When my Grandma lived there, it didn't have the green carpet on it. On hot summer nights, we would sit out there and eat cold slices of really good watermelon. My Grandma always cut out the "heart" of the watermelon just for me! I continued on around the house to the chicken coop. Sweet memories of our favorite son, at 4 years of age, going out with Grandma to gather the eggs, so excited and proud to bring them back to the kitchen. He was half afraid of those chickens, but he wanted to gather eggs about 6 times a day, much to my Grandma's delight! She sure love her great-grand babies! The three big walnut trees are still there, but now they shade the whole back yard! Olga very sweetly offered to give me some walnuts. Granddad's 3 gardens are empty now--no grapevines, no strawberries, no sugar stick carrots. Reuben and Olga work more than full time, and don't have the time it takes to garden. This would sadden my Grandad, but he would understand.
All in all it was a great, sentimental trip back into my childhood. As you can see, my Grandma's house is not a big, fancy house. But the love given in that house was BIG, wonderful and totally unconditional. The memories are so sweet, and are such a part of who I am. I am so blessed to have had such wonderful grandparents. Here they are, Ralph and Leona Smeltzer. This lovely picture was taken for their 50th wedding anniversary.
Next time I visit Gleed, it won't be hard at all to drive by Grandma's house. Reuben and Olga are lovely, kind and hard working people--just like my grandparents were. They are taking such good care of the place, and I'm sure they are creating wonderful memories for their children and grandchildren. Here's Reuben and Olga:
And--life goes on, nothing stays the same.
Well, almost nothing------ That little footprint, now covered in lichen, is mine- from about 1955 when my Dad poured the sidewalk leading up to the front porch. That will always be at my Grandma's, along with a big piece of my heart.
I love you Grandma, Grandad and Auntie Mae, always.
Diana Lynn 8/25/2009