Thursday, October 19, 2006

Memories of my first home....

Recently several bloggers wrote about some of their early memories. I decided to try doing that. When I was born it was during WWII and my dad was in the navy so my mom had moved back to her parent's home. The doctor who delivered me (at the local hospital just a couple of blocks from the house) lived right across the street from my grandparents....and both the doctor and my grandparents were named Smith! (And now, that is my married name, too!!)

So the first home I remember was my grandparent's home. It was a bungalow style home with a living room, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms, bath, basement with a coal burning furnace and a porch across the front.

My mom and I had the front bedroom. There was a bed, chest of drawers, and vanity... the kind with a big round mirror and the little drawers on each side. On one of the side walls there was a picture of a was an illustration that was popular in that era. I've seen it before but can't remember the artist or anything about it. There were two windows, one that looked out to the front porch.

I'm sure there was a crib for me but at that age I don't remember! I have a lot of memories of my grandparent's house some I'm sure I actually remember and some that I've heard about so many times that they become my own memories, too. For instance, I've heard that when I had a wet diaper I would go sit on one of the heat registers in the floor! Now that's using the ol' noggin'!!

My grandpa worked for the Wabash Railroad and he worked many times at night. He would get me up when he came home in the early mornings, before anyone else was awake, and he would entertain me by making faces. Apparently I would imitate him. No one else knew about this hidden talent until one Sunday when my grandma had invited her minister for dinner. I'm told that I sat across from the minister, in my high chair, and made faces all through dinner! I still make faces! HB is always teasing me about it.

That house holds many memories for me because my grandparents lived there until my own children were small. They finally had to move to a smaller apartment because of their health. The last I knew the house was still there although I'm sure by now it isn't in the greatest of shape.

I remember hollyhocks behind the garage, bachelor buttons in the back yard, petunias along the side of the house and lily of the vally along the other side. I don't remember Grandma actually doing any gardening but there were always flowers. This is a photo of me walking along the side of the can see some of the flowers. I wish it was in color.

Later, after we lived in our own home, when we visited grandma and grandpa we would always go straight through the house to the fact, I think most everyone else did the same thing. The kitchen wasn't huge. Grandma's stove sat on the wall that was to the right as you came through the door and the fridge sat opposite. The sink was an old-fashioned kind that was attached to the wall, no cabinet underneath, and with a sloped draining area on the side. There was a small pantry off to one side with shelves and a small cabinet that sat under a window. When Grandma made homemade noodles she would prop a broom handle between the shelves, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and drape the noodles over that to dry. For some reason that memory is very clear to me.

Grandma cooked everything from scratch and made basic, home-style food....nothing fancy. When she made fruit pies she would tear a strip of white cloth and put it around the edges so they wouldn't burn. It's funny what things stick in our minds. If I could have a piece of her blackberry cobbler right now I would be in heaven! I think her noodles and her cobbler are the things I remember the most.

The dining room had a big table and chairs, a buffet with a mirror hanging over it, and a small studio couch along one wall. The phone was located right next to that sat in the arch between the living/dining room....and when I think of Grandma it is always in that spot. She loved to sit there and talk on the phone. And she could talk for hours!! Each morning she called all her lady friends. I guess it's a bit like all of us reading each other's blogs each day! Grandma loved to talk on the phone, collect Green Stamps, go to every grocery store in town, and in later years she discovered yard sales!! This is my favorite photo of grandma....

The living room wasn't used much because we were always in the kitchen! But it had the usual couch, couple of big easy chairs, a small set of shelves, and end tables etc. There was a big window that looked out onto the front porch. In the summer there was a metal glider on the porch and a big concrete flower pot made by Grandma's had marbles embedded in the concrete and was always filled with petunias. When it was hot Grandma would leave a small pitcher of lemonade and a glass of ice on the porch for the mailman! Can you imagine anyone doing that today!!

This is a photo of my grandparents just outside the house. Grandpa usually dressed in overalls every day....

Grandpa loved to putter around in the basement. He liked to build things....little tables, storage boxes and such. I still have a little plant stand and a storage box that he made. The cabinet that holds my yarn in my craft room is from grandma's kitchen....he didn't build that but it did belong to them and I've held on to it all these years. (Photos of my craft room are on my flickr account. You can access it through that flickr rotating image on the right side of my blog.)

The last photo I have to share today is one of my mom and grandma taken in the dining room. Sorry it isn't a very clear photo. I think the flowers were for mother's day and I'm sure they were sent by Aunt Dotti.

So these are a few of my earliest memories....I guess it was more about the house than about me but that's what I remember.


  1. Illinois? Indiana?

  2. I think grandma's are really important in our lives when we are small, some of my clearest childhood memories are of my grandma's house too. When I read that your grandpa worked for the Wabash Railroad the words Wabash Cannonball immediately popped into my head. It was a song I think but was it also a railroad engine connected with the Wabash Railroad? This was a lovely nostalgic piece, I really enjoyed reading it.

  3. I love the photos!

  4. This was full of wonderful memories. I think the black and white photos are totally perfect for this post. My favorite picture is of you grandparents. Isn't that sweet how your Grandma is looking at him??
    Great post !!

  5. Early memories are so interesting. As I have said before the first two years of my life were spent in my grandparents home. I have memories of this giantic garden that was sooo big! Well, it was a large garden but not on the scale my very young mind saw it as.

  6. Oh what a lovely piece Janet!! I read it twice, I love your honest accounts and the photos just enchance the lovely words about your grandparents..
    PEace, Kai.

  7. Anonymous7:32 PM

    I enjoyed that very much. It brought back some memories. Grandpa out in the back gardening or doing some house repairs, and all during he would whistle. I remember how I loved the way he whistled...sounded just like real birds. I used to follow him around while he worked so I could listen to him whistling. He would sometimes turn and look at me and laugh and ruffle my hair and then continue with what he was doing.

  8. I have been really bad about my comments recently and I apologize.

    jeanne - Illinois
    rowan - I know it was a song and that's all I know!
    deb - thanks!
    sue - That's exactly why I love that photo, too.
    daisy - It's amazing how big things seem when we're little and then when we grow up and see the same things they seem so small.
    kai - thank you so much. I thought I kind of rambled on too long!
    sombraknight - I like the memory you shared of your grandpa.

  9. this was delightful Janet, I really love that we can all share our memories and photos on our blogs. This was a really vivid account of your life with them that I really enjoyed reading a lot! How lucky you are to have the photos you do of them!

  10. Anonymous12:05 PM

    I really enjoyed reading this. The photo of your grandparents, and the way your grandma is looking at him, tells me there was a lot of love in your childhood. I have vivid memories of my grandparents homes too, even certain fragrances can trigger them.
    You were a cute baby too!
    I have tried several times to post this comment, blogger is really slow today.

  11. Janet, I loved reading about your grandma and grandpa! Such sweet memories and pictures. I was thinking the same as Sue...such a loving look on your grandma's face as she looks at her hubby.
    That last pic is lovely too, with your mom. And you were a little cutie!
    Thanks for the memories! :)

  12. I enjoyed your memories. My mind wandered into some of mine while I was reading yours. When I look back at those days...things seemed so simple then...with lots of love to go around. I couldn't ever have imagined back then that I could read something that someone just wrote halfway around the world. Yes I remember old times fondly but I'm also amazed by what we can do today.

  13. Wonderful memories and photos Janet. Love the black and white.
    I hate painting with a passion but oh well., I`m resigning myself to the fact that it`s gotta get done anyway LOL


  14. Wonderful Janet....such great memories!!! Aren't you glad we have them???!!!!!! Your Grandparents look so Grandpa wore nothin but overalls!!!


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