my grandparents' house

my grandparents' house has held many people,

my opa built this house from the ground up and that’s how they built this family too.

 

The front steps creek and crow but they carry me still to the door.

The door to the house is old, slightly run down, not traditional in its nature. I’ve never seen another one same as this, it holds a special place in my heart.

Opens so easily in the summer, have to force it in the winter but I’m okay with that because I’m walking into a love filled place.

Walking in we say hello, good morning, after all this time, they still mix up my mom and I's voices, but that’s okay.

Cell service is bad and I’m sure my grandma is glad, we have to find other ways to have fun.

 

The guest room, it’s pristine, my grandma calls it her office.

Its shelves hold all of my favorite childhood games and photos dating back before 1989.

When my tante drives 365 miles to see us, she stays here.

I don’t get to see her all year but the days I do are sweet as can be,

you see we both dress the same, act the same, are the same, almost to a tee and I love her with my whole being.

 

my opa’s room, the two twin beds set on opposite sides of the wall, a reminder that my grandparents no longer sleep in the same bed but rather in separate rooms,

but not a sign that they love each other any less,

I spent my childhood fighting my brother over the bed across from my opa’s, the duchent folded back, our sleep shirts under the pillow,

Oma reminding us we need to brush our teeth.

The cabinets hold canned goods, the closet my grandpa’s dress shirts, so many saved up coins, the bathroom I use when I run out of water at home, before that a great spot in my brother’s weekly game of hide and seek.

I’m reminded of when opa would ask me to get him a can of pears or peaches for an extra side at dinner or his favorite late night snack.

 

The hallway, a path to every crevice I’ve loved. The pantry across the hall from the kitchen filled with anything you need for baking, a place to sneak a Girl Scout cookie or two, scolded not to ruin my dinner. The broom held here waiting for my nightly sweep of the kitchen. 

 

The kitchen holds the most memories. I grew up in here. Everything in its original form, it is unchanged. Here at the kitchen table, with squeaky chairs and a screw we used to play with, my brother and I ate many meals with my großeltern. We said morning prayers, we drank milk that my grandpa warmed up for us before bed. Here we had meat and cheese sandwiches on European rye bread, eggs with ham and onions, and fought over the Donald Duck fork for every meal. Here at this table, I learned how to make spitzbuben, buchteln, schnitzel and bier rocks. I learned how much food means to me and that the most important part is that you’re in good company. Here in this kitchen I learned how much I hated dishes but did them anyways. Here I played with a mini egg carton and mini cast iron kitchen before I was old enough to join in the cooking, but I was doing a bit of my own. Here we make coffee and tea, the perfect subsidy. Chamomile runs through my veins, tasting my opa’s black coffee when I was six made my taste buds what they are today, and here there’s always a bottle of baileys. We carry these mugs, so many mugs that my grandparents have collected, filled with drinks to warm us up into the living room, joined by the newest selection of my grandma’s desserts. I hoped for pie every time, and you know which one, it’s very special and I still need to learn how to make it with the same kind of love. During family gatherings, there always lays a bottle of boxed wine on the counter, my grandpa will drink it and so will everyone else but I think it’s just to make him happy. The fridge adorned with pictures and magnets galore, and a copy of the our father in German as a reminder before we had it memorized. Liecht abtrehen. Here I learned the small amount of German I know. 

 

The living room grew up with me. The wood stove, put in a new one years ago. I still remember the original, having to shovel the ashes, making sure it was lit, I was always too young to do any of it. But it keeps the house warm and we throw logs in, I still split and stack wood sometimes, not sure if it’s fun but important all the same.

Here in the living room we played with Linkin logs, we built dreams, we had a little green army, we rolled around and sang all day long. Here I spent most of my time. The original couches still alive and well, family gatherings at the large table in the middle of the room, endless conversations, how ya doings, dumpling soups, and occasional crying. 

I can here the rain pattering on the tin roof, a newer addition to this linkin log home. No longer is there water leaking, but maybe I liked that part of it all. 

School pictures on the wall, clues still hanging from the scavenger hunt I made for my grandparents to do over 10 years ago. I learned to play the piano when I got older, my Oma paid for lessons one summer and I fell in love. Here I experiment, I try new things, I play and sing. My grandma still takes out her video camera and records everything. I used to hate it, but now I understand how important it is to her and will be to me. Here my grandpa lays across the couch, just to rest his eyes. He works from sun up till sun down and no one can take away his time. This couch has been moved many times and no longer is anything hid under it. But I remember the times it hid legos, books, and toys from the world. Only ours to see and we played with them all around. This couch holds a round pillow that we all seem to hate, but leave in the same place, it falls and it falls, and we curse at it’s fate. Here we share conversations on the couch, on the chairs. My opa goes to and fro, not sure which is his favorite chair though. The entertainment holder, where we took old pieces of voting paper, drawing our ideas among the pages, who knew that I would grow up and have so much to say about this. 

 

Oma’s room, the bed where I took every nap. The walk in closet where I hid among the clothes, silly hats I would try on and mess around with my brother. Dierndels hung here, remember my Oma made me one of my own. Sometimes would sleep at night in her bed too, tucked me in and said prayers for me and you. 

Oma’s bathroom, sat in the laundry hamper as an infant, hid in the dryer as a kid, sat on the stool for Oma to do my French braids, spray bottle and a few rubber bands. It was what she was best at, small gestures of love, sewn into the fabrics of our souls, she also made me pants though.

 

The attic a reminder that I am growing up, that I am old, that many of the things I once played with everyday haven’t been touched for years. My grandpa’s office is here, he does taxes, runs numbers, and figures everything important out up here. Climbing the ladder as a kid was my favorite, going back down we had to be careful. 

 

There have been floods, earthquakes, but nothing could shake this place. Because my grandparents hold it up on their shoulders. They share this weight, and they might not perfect. But we all love them anyway. 

 

I recently house sat while they were gone for three weeks. Looking through old photos, playing the piano, dancing in the living room. I'm taken back to my childhood. I explore the whole house and I find what I’ve been looking for. My peace, my peace is in this house. In the people and time I’ve spent here over the years. Except without the people in it, it feels lonely, it feels different. I’m reminded my grandparents might not be here soon. I’m reminded that time stops for no one. But I have a lot left to learn, i don’t know what I’m going to do. 

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This poem is about: 
Me
My family

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