We sold Granddaddy’s house today. This is where he lived for 37 years. Also, several of his family lived there for a period of time. Many memories come to mind as I think about this special house. It is a bittersweet time in my life.
My grandfather was a railroader who lived in several places. This is how he ended up in my home town. Around 1940 he built this house. The support beams are solid hardwood just like the solid values passed down from him to his children and grandchildren.
Granddaddy’s first wife passed away when their youngest son, my dad, was only two years old. He was a single father until Daddy was about 13. He moved his newly formed family into this house with his new wife, her son, and Daddy.
I remember sitting around the fireplace with the burning embers glowing. Mom told me that the local postmaster had formed the fireplace out of concrete. While sitting around this fireplace Granddaddy would talk about politics, current events, and religion. If he could see the state of our country now he would have a lot more serious issues to discuss.
My first recollection of this house is playing rock school with my cousin from Harlan and my brother on the front steps. The lower step was 1st grade, second was 2nd grade, etc. The teacher held a rock in one closed hand and the students had to guess which hand the rock was in. If you picked the hand with the rock you advanced to the next grade. If you were wrong you failed that grade. Whomever got to the top step first became the teacher for the next year of “rock school”.
I’ll never forget the old grand piano sitting in the living room where both Granddaddy and my step grandmother would play. I practiced my piano lessons on that piano and now it is sitting in my living room. The keys on the piano are now stuck, but I can’t bring it upon myself to get rid of it. The piano tuner said it would cost more to fix than its value. Well, that value is for other people, not me.
Grandma was not the cook my mom was. Once for Thanksgiving dinner we were all passing the food around the table. I took out the usual turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. When the applesauce came around I thought it was gravy and put it on top of my mashed potatoes. Oh, what funny memories come to mind when I think of that dining room and our many family dinners there.
Granddaddy and Grandma traveled a lot after they retired. I remember playing with a little umbrella she brought back from one of her trips. Needless to say I didn’t know that it was a little umbrella that went into a mixed drink. They had lots of postcards and pictures from different places they had traveled. I loved looking at them and wish I had saved the postcards.
After Granddaddy retired from the Southern Railway he bought a house in St. Petersburg, FL where he and Grandma spent the winters. In 1965 our house burned so we moved temporarily into Granddaddy’s house. This is where we were living when I had the first date with my husband.
In the small bathroom of this house is also where I almost died. For heat in this room we used a space heater that was set in the narrow space between the tub and the sink. As I was getting out of the tub I had one foot on the floor and one foot in the tub. With my wet hands I touched the metal handle on top of the heater. What a shock I got! I felt it all the way through my body. But God didn’t want me yet. Thank you, God, for letting me live longer. I quickly learned the danger of mixing water, electricity, and metal.
A few years later my brother, his wife, and baby boy lived in Granddaddy’s house while Daddy built their house. Soon after that Granddaddy passed away in Florida and Grandma died 7 months later.
That’s when Daddy remodeled the house and he and Mom moved into the house permanently. Mom cooked on Sunday dinners when she really couldn’t afford it. She cooked for a lot of different family and friends. Many laughs and discussions were held around her dining room table. They lived there for the last 17 years of their marriage, and Mom continued living there for 20 years.
After my parents were gone we rented the house out for awhile. Then my granddaughter lived there for two years and lastly my daughter and her family. So you can see why I’m recalling a lot of things associated with Granddaddy’s house. If you see me today I may be a little teary eyed and you will know why. Thanks for reading about my memories of Granddaddy’s House.