My Grandmother “Jessica’s” Home

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I remember that my grandma’s house had an old-fashioned washing machine. It was outside the house with a large drum that would wash the laundry and a roller with a hand crank to squeeze out the water so the laundry would dry faster. Sam and I enjoyed playing with this ancient machine.

We would also play in the front yard but mostly on the porch. It was always fun to climb onto the porch walls and stand up and pretend that you were very tall. There were two loquat trees in the front yard that were fun to climb and sometimes the tree had fruit hanging from the limbs. We would pick and eat the fruit. The side yard was grandma’s garden. The garden was surrounded by a hedge on two sides with a fence on another side, and it bordered the house on its fourth side. The garden always had good things to eat growing inside its borders.

The backyard was a wonderful place with a tree just outside the back door that produced delicious almonds. Elsewhere in the back yard you could find extra tomato plants. Hiding the garage was a giant fig tree that so tall it covered the roof of the garage too. Directly behind the garage was my Uncle Leonard’s workshop.  Another garden was close to the house and by the old washing machine. Past the garden and under an arch of living plants grow more fruit trees.  There was a small lawn but only because it grow under the fig tree. Oh I almost forgot, hidden behind the garage was an area that grandma Jessie kept her chicken coop and chickens. Both Sam and I thought that the chickens were scary when we first discovered them but once we learned that it was just “chicken bluff” by the roster we were not scared any longer. This backyard was this child’s adventure land.

The garage was filled with wine making items. A press, some barrels, and of course brown colored wine bottles were within the walls of the garage. To the best of my ability to remember there was never a car in the garage. There were two reasons that you would not find car in the garage, first all the wine items used most of the space and next neither my Grandpa nor Grandma could drive.

To this young boy the basement was both scary and wonderful. After descending the stairs you would enter a somewhat dark and musty basement. Looking inside the basement I could see shelves on my left and sitting on the shelves were jars of different types of fruit. To my left were the barrels of wine that my grandpa Sam had used to store the wine he had made before winter. Sometimes you might see things hanging from hooks in the ceiling.  My grandma or grandpa used the basement to dry and store food delicacies or various herb leaves to dry. The basement would have things like sausage, herbs from the garden, olives, and peppers hanging from the many hooks in the ceiling. As we all know dried food items do not spoil quickly and they are much easier to store. Sometime we would find something that we did not recognize so with the new item we would run up the stairs to ask one of our grandparents.

The inside of grandma’s house was another place all her grandchildren could become lost in a child’s dreamland. The kitchen was always a warm and safe area. If Grandma Jessie was not in the kitchen she was at church, visiting with her friends or shopping for food. She was a wonderful cook and in addition to her outstanding meals she could make the best cookies, Italian doughnuts and tasty breads. Her stove was very large and she could cook many different things at the same time. I loved being in the kitchen with my grandma Jessie. Her cookies and coffee were my favorite snack. The cookies were the greatest and the coffee was really more warm milk and just a little coffee. But the pleasure I received from dunking my Italian doughnuts in my warm drink make my feel just like the prince I was.

Inside the house the living room was always clean with all the decorative items in their proper place. There was a beautiful musical decoration that looked like the dome to a church. When you push a button on the side music would play and eight doors around the dome would open wide and then as they closed you would see seven small statues of saints and one small bottle of holy water. I could play with that musical item forever.  I also remember her coffee table that was ever so beautiful. It was hand carved with a glass top to protect the carved wood.  The glass allowed you to see the beauty below but protected the carved wood from grandchildren like me. I remember that Grandchildren had to sneak into the living room to view or play with the elegant items for some reason we were not allowed to play in this one room. Grandma said that it was just to entertain guests. The funny thing about that rule was that all guests arrived at the back door and all the visiting I saw was normally done in the warm kitchen. I do not know of any grandchild that did not love to visit our grandparents house.

Something New

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Well I have told you something about my brother and sisters so I thought it would be nice to tell you something about my early years. Based on input from my mother, Godmother, aunt Grace, grandma’s Jessie and Mary, and the young girl who liked me a lot in kindergarten, I was a handsome young boy with a wonderful outlook on life. Excluding my brother and sisters, everyone wanted to play with me. I was polite and very well-mannered. I was the young boy with the future of a prince ahead of him. Once during this early growing time my oldest sister, who was many years older than I, and my younger brother, who was just two years younger than I, were taken by my father to my grandma and grandpa, Jessica and Sam’s home. Something was happening and it seemed to this little four-year-old boy that it was something of major importance. Of course, before my dad left us, he asked me to be brave and to make sure my sister and brother were good and behaved well after he left. Yes, I was asked to take care of my baby brother and my older sister. It was easy for this four-year-old boy to entertain his baby brother. We could play games, climb the tree, explored the basement and the garage, and of course we could tease the chickens. Spending time at Grandma Jessie and Grandpa Sam’s house was always wonderful. Sometimes my uncle Leonard would be at the house and he was lots of fun to play with. Anyway, with Sam and me enjoying our day at grandma’s house, my oldest sister Marianne was sitting on the back steps. Marianne was always worrying about something. Sam and I wanted her to play with us but she was way too busy worrying. She did not stop worrying even after grandma Jessie sat down next to her and tried to let her know there was nothing to worry about. As the mature young man who was the oldest boy child of the family. It was my duty to take charge. I told my brother, Sam, to just ignore our oldest worrying sister Marianne. We can have fun with our games, and other things to do’s. So we played and every so often just laughed at our oldest sister. I do not know how long my father was gone, but I am sure it was at least for a few days. When he returned mom was with him and in her arms was a funny little tiny baby. At first all I could see was a funny face, hiding in the blankets. Her eyes were closed but just like her sister, her mouth was open. Our family of five was now a family of six! Jessica (daddy’s little peanut) had arrived and the life’s of the first five of us would never be the same.