Anyone that knows me knows that I had a very special relationship with my grandparents. Though they passed on many years ago, I still speak of them often, and there is not one day that goes by that I don’t think of them. When I was a young boy, their home was my home. I was there five days a week after school, from about 3 to 5 p.m., when my Mom would pick me up after work. And in the summers, she’d drop me off at about 8:30 every morning and I’d be there all day. I probably spent just as much time there, if not more, than my own house. I even had my own room there.
And I loved it.
I always felt complete love there. My grandparents didn't seem at all burdened with the fact they were essentially babysitting a young boy everyday during their golden years. They seemed to love having me there. My friends from the neighborhood were all welcome there. We’d play in their yard and all throughout their house all day. Lemonade was always there for everyone. Lunch, too. They even put a pool in their yard, just for me and my friends, which came with only one rule: nobody goes swimming unless grandpa is in the yard supervising.
It was good rule.
And they were good people.
I could probably write a mini-novel about my memories of that house. And though I haven’t been in it in more than 30 years, I can still remember everything about every room in it. From the pattern of the linoleum on the kitchen floor to the sound the back screen door made when it closed, it is all as clear to me today as when I was eight years old.
And the nice thing is, sometimes, I go back.
Not literally. But in dreams. They don’t come as often as I’d like, but when they do, I always wake up feeling like something special has happened. Sometimes, I’m a young boy again, and it’s summer, and everything is as it once was. Sometimes, I’m the age I am now, and I go inside, and my grandparents are still there, and we chat. I call these dreams “visits,” because that’s really what I like to believe they are.
I can still recall the first time I had such a dream. It was around 1986, which was eight years after my grandpa had passed and only two years after my grandmother had passed. I was about 18, and I must have not been feeling well, because I had never been one to nap, especially at such a young and vibrant age, but for some reason, on a beautiful summer afternoon, I fell asleep. And, for the first time in about five years, I found myself back at my favorite place: my grandparents’ home.
I still remember the feeling I had when I woke. It was wonderful.
Sometimes, the visits are in full color. Sometimes, they have a sepia tone to them. Regardless, they always feel remarkably real.
Some years ago, one of my favorite bands, The Badlees, recorded a song called “A Fever.” The first time I heard it, it resonated with me. It reminded me of my visits.
Some of the lyrics:
Past visions of rolling hills
In movie stills
A panoramic stew ….
A fever's brought me close to you
In ways we cannot be
Even in memory”
I share this today with some family and friends because it was 30 years ago today that my grandmother passed. It is hard for me to comprehend that it has now been three decades since I have talked with her, and even longer since I've seen my grandpa.
I hope to see them again someday.