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Empty House Full Of Memories

My grandparents’ house sits empty now, but if walls could speak I’m sure there are lots of stories it could tell. The main part of the house is more than 100 years old. The steps to the upstairs are steep and narrow, not meant for my family’s oversized feet. Parts of the floor are rotting and the plumbing and wiring need work. It would cost a fortune to restore it, so it will probably continue to sit empty. Its secrets will be safe from future generations.

My grandmother always said it would be up to me and my cousin Sarah to “clean up the mess upstairs.” Few things in my life have been as difficult as cleaning out that house after my grandmother died.

It was the house where my grandmother came to live as a young bride. At that time, her mother-in-law was still alive and my grandparents cared for her until she died at the ripe old age of 96. “Don’t ever live with your in-laws,” Grandma advised. “You never have a thing that feels like your own.” That was as close as she ever got to complaining about the fact that she rarely left the side of my great-grandmother, who was bedfast for the last 10 years of her life.

The house has been closed up for over a year, but from time to time I go there, raise the windows to air it out, and walk through the empty rooms. Yes, it makes me sad, but it brings back so many memories.

My favorite part of the house has always been the front porch. When I was a little girl, my grandmother and I would sit on the front porch swing together and watch the world go by. The chains would clink and clang softly, while the swing creaked beneath our weight. We’d guess what color car would come down the road next. We’d pick out animal shapes in the clouds.

Maybe I’m remembering things through rose-colored glasses, but it seems as if the sky was always blue, the birds were always singing, and I was always safe and loved when I sat with my grandmother on her front porch swing.

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