Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stepping Back In Time

During our last visit home, my Mom casually mentioned that she would like to drive past her childhood home. At 81 years old and having lost my Dad last year, she has been doing a lot of reminiscing about the past. Since I haven’t seen my Grandparent’s house for many years, I jumped at the idea and a couple of days later my sister Dianne, my mom and I were in the car eagerly on our way. Dianne and I are the oldest of six siblings and we have the most vivid memories of our Grandparents and their home. We can both recall with fondness the memories of the dear people that they were and the many wonderful family times spent at their house.

As we drove down the street, Mom started to point out the different houses and who used to live in them. She also retold the fact that my Dad and his family had lived on the same street for a few years when they were all very young. She showed us his house and we tried to imagine him living there.

His family eventually moved to a parcel of land a few miles away so they could farm. But how amazing that when they were just little children they lived only houses away from each other!

As we approached our Grandparent’s house, it still looked very much the same. There were some obvious changes (the pillars on the front porch along with the wooden steps had been replaced and the driveway was now paved) but it was definitely the house we remembered.

We parked our car and went up to the door to see if anyone was home. We didn’t want to just start walking around the property without the owner’s approval. Much to our disappointment, no one was home. So we just stood out front, taking pictures and talking about the similarities and changes of Mom’s childhood home.

Fortunately, within a few minutes, the homeowner drove up! She got out of her car and we exchanged introductions. Her name was Marcia and she seemed a bit hesitant with us at first, but soon warmed up as we showed her some old photos that we brought along. She walked us around to the back yard and we reminisced about our Grandfather's gardens, the chicken coop that once stood behind the garage, the screened-in porch that we loved so much and the brick-paved driveway.

Much to our complete surprise, Marcia then invited us to come into her house. I couldn't believe her generosity in allowing us to once again enter the house that we had loved so much. The front door was the same wooden door that we remembered and as we stepped inside, I immediately experienced a flood of emotions that I was not expecting. Without my permission, the tears came. It was just like stepping back in time and I felt like I was once again a child in my Grandmother’s house experiencing the special warmth and love that I have always associated with being there.

As we walked from room to room, we shared our stories with Marcia. We pointed out the corner shelves in the dining room that my Grandfather built and talked about the wood stove that used to be in the kitchen. She no longer had the built-in bench seating in the kitchen, but a telephone desk stood in the exact same spot where my Grandmother always had one.

We ventured into the basement where memories of the ringer-washer and coal room came back to us. It was now a finished rec room with a TV and computer. Upstairs we toured the bedrooms and looked out the same window that my mom would have looked out of as a child in her room.

Thanks to Marcia's generosity, my Mom experienced a special gift that day. She was able to once again count her blessings as she warmly recalled the past. It was also a joy for my sister and I to see the house, but most of all to be with Mom and to share this special time. I pray that we would all hold onto the good memories of our past and be able to look back and be thankful.

Have a wonderful day!


  1. Oh, I have tears rolling down my cheeks! I have the same emotions and memories of my grandparent's home. It was my other home. When it was sold after my Grampa passed away six years ago, and my Gramma moved, I cried the last time I left (and I mean sobbed). What a treat and a treasure for you all to be able to visit the home again, step back in time and re-live some of your favorite memories!

    Andrea :)

  2. How nice for your Mom and you that Marcia let you see the back yard and the house! I like the old pics too!

  3. Oh Joanne, you gave me warm fuzzies! What a wonderful trip down memory lane for all of you!

  4. You and Dianne gave your mom a wonderful gift that day. Love the photos. You will have to scrapbook them someday.

  5. what a beautiful gift to share with one another, i would love to see those photos scrapbooked too....

  6. Every time we go to England we take a walk around the block that my Dad's grandparents lived on. Last time the owners of the house were out front and we got to talk to them. There was always a story that the house was haunted so my dad asked the current people about it and they said they had the same sensations- soo interesting. I love history!

  7. wonderful story Joanne, it's not very often we get to revisit our pasts, such a joy for your Mom I'm sure!

  8. Sounds lovely, My mother wanted to do the same thing a few years ago. We went to see the farmhouse where she lived as a child, but all that was there was a water pump. The house and all the buildings had been torn down. My mother was dissappointed but we drove by all the neigbours and she had a grand time remembering running through the fields to the neighbours house.
    She's 87 now and has been telling me lately things that I never heard before and I'm trying to record them. I guess some of the memories come back when aging, or maybe when your life is full and busy you don't remember until all you have left is your memories.
    Anyway you have a wonderful memory with your sister and mother. Thanks from all of us.


Thank you for your lovely comments!

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