The below is one of the pieces I’ve written for my writing course and I wanted to share. For those in my family – please take note, I’ve deliberately introduced the over-exaggerated voice of a child to describe some of my experiences. The assignment requirement was to write about a memorable event or person or sight etc. Hope everyone enjoys – both those who knew my Grandma and those who did not….
Some Grandmas live far away in a different town, some are no longer with us, and some we’re lucky to have close. Our Grandma lived just a mile away so visits to her house were pretty regular, yet mostly in my mind just not often enough. To me, as an eight year old girl who adored her grandmother more than any other member of the human race, and possibly more than her whole family put together, visits just couldn’t come around quick enough.
Walking or cycling to Grandma’s house through the lanes was an experience I cherished all on its own. Come winter or summer, whichever route you took, it was a beautiful adventure. During spring we’d walk through pathways crowded with hundreds of daffodils. A week or two later, there would be a glistening blue throughout one section of the journey as mound upon mound of magical looking bluebells would appear. In my mind, it was as if nature were managed by a team of fairies who had come down this tree-lined pathway between the lanes, and left a trail of beautifully delicate flora as a kind of signature of their great work. I was happy to believe that beyond the green leaves was a world of elves and fairies, all working alongside the Easter bunny and several other folk from Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree. But that’s another story…
At our destination we’d be greeted by Grandma and led into a sea of emerald. My Grandma loved anything green. The carpets, the curtains (which had to be closed by sundown or there’d be a minor panic), the placemats, the napkins – you name it and it was green. It sounds terrible, and yet this home was a delight, and so too was the lady who ran it.
Some might have said she was the matriarch of the family, and maybe she was. But to me she was first known as the heart of this wondrous place of escape – of ice-cream and jelly, scones and sponge cake, a big TV and bigger armchairs. Spending the night there was the most exciting event of all as I would get to stay up and watch Cilla Black on Blind Date. Grandma and I would giggle at all the silly women contestants and I’d secretly daydream of when I’d meet a handsome man and get married and live in a big castle. And then when I’d eaten too much of the world’s best Victoria sponge and sultana scones I’d climb the stairs to the cosy bed of fresh flannelette sheets and candlewick bedspreads.
As the years went by and I grew up, it was less about the TV or snuggly beds, and more about the long card games, and even longer talks. We would sit there, Grandma in her big red armchair and I on the footrest opposite – consuming gallons of thick, brown tea made in the most beautiful bone china, playing Cribbage and putting the world to rights. Some days we would gossip about my friends or discuss other members of the family, other days she would tell me all about all the different pubs that she and Granddad ran. I loved to hear her talk about Granddad and the old days because it would awaken a lifetime I’d never experienced. It invited me a little bit into my mother’s childhood and would make me feel a little as though I had actually known my Granddad too. I also loved to hear about what my brothers had got up to when they were small and she had endless tales of all these past events.
Undoubtedly, because my brothers are much older than me, times with someone who would just play endless card games and talk to me until we both nodded off were a considerable treasure. The way I tell the tale you might think I loathed being at home with my mum and dad, my two older brothers and our cats – but this was not the case at all. Grandma’s house was just a haven – it was the luxury villa you go and visit, away from the daily run of the mill.
I can still recall the feeling of the heart-stopping moment of realisation that I could see my mother or father’s figure at the door to pick me up. Grandma would get out of her big chair to go and greet them, and in a flash I would be under the stairs and under no circumstance was I prepared to budge. Grandma of course had superior stairs to our boring old ones back at home: her stairs had no backs to them so you could sit in the stair well and peek through to the hallway. I knew full well that they knew where I was hiding, I mean for a start you could see me, but second of all, I tried the same trick every visit for several years I think. This really only goes to show I wasn’t yet brilliant at strategizing, I suppose. But still I’d bolt under the steps and peer through the gap, my nose resting right against the bristly carpet that covered the stair, and my heart pounding as I wondered if this time I might just be allowed to stay for good!
But home I did go… but back again I would come – time and time again.