As long as I can remember, my grandparents have always lived with us. I can't exactly pinpoint the day they moved in, but I'm told that my grandfather had a heart attack and had to retire. After 42 years at Chrysler, as head of the body shop, retirement didn't come easy. So Madeline and Tommy Holland moved in with us.
I don't even know how it was decided that they should live with us, but time would show that the kids would get the best of that deal.
With a summer home in Northern Ontario and a winter home in Florida, all my grandparents needed was a place to stay in between times. For spring and fall, grandma and grandpa were with us, at home. In the summer, we, the kids and mom, were with them at the cottage, dad visiting on the weekends.
Probably my most cherished childhood memories are from my summers up north at our hideaway 'Echo Cove'. With 5 acres of lakeshore, forest, rock, beach and fields, it was the closest I have ever come to 'heaven'.
The fragrance in the air was unmistakable, but impossible to describe...only the words - Cottage, Fresh, and Summer come to mind.
Grandpa was always watering the gardens. Both flowers and vegetables must have known they were painting the landscape that memories are made of, for they thrived under his loving care.
When I think of Grandma, she is always in the kitchen. Her 5 ft. body disappearing in her smock styled apron. Aroma of pies, cookies or some other delight filling the air.
Off us 3 kids would go, swimming, boating and playing without a care in the world. Then, like a summer's storm it would end as quickly as it started. We would head home again till next year.
It was at school that I learned that most kids didn't appreciate their grandparents and that I had an unusual relationship with mine. I mentioned in conversation, that my grandparents lived with us. "How awful!", they all cried in unison. After much conversation, I was made to understand how most kids felt about their grandparents. I short, grandparents were old people the visited a few times a year, that said, "My how you've grown!" and proceeded to talk about all their friends who had died since the last visit.
I remember leaving that conversation a bit bewildered and sad. What a great loss; they don't even know their grandparents!
My grandma would always stop what she was doing to talk, laugh, or give us a hug. Most of all, she spent hours in the kitchen baking the best apple crisp, short bread or date cookies ever made. In her spare time, she would be lost in the world of a romance novel.
Grandpa always had to have something to do. He puttered around the house doing gardening, cutting the lawn and fixing things. He always talked about golf, read about golf, and would count down the days till he was back to Florida so he could GOLF. But most of all, grandpa knew EVERTHING! He could answer all our questions and would tell us about the olden days. He had some crazy stories about 'the ice man' who brought blocks of ice to keep the fridge cold?! And something about 'change the chains' that had to do with the 'furnace man'?
For Christmas and March Breaks we would go to Florida to visit them. I think most of all I associate my grandparents with sunshine and love.
Unlike most peoples grandparents, mine aren't sepiatone brown and white photos on the mantel, collecting dust. My grandparents even now are in a sunny spot awaiting our visit. Till then, or till they come home, their picture is full colour, in a modern frame, reminding us of their love.~end~