Grandparents’ houses are unique, yet somehow all the same.
They are all messy. Yet each household has a different kind of mess.
The older a person gets, the more she surrounds herself with memories. And the older she is, the more memories she has to hold on to. An older person’s home becomes a nest of memories.
My grandparents’ home was like this. It got progressively messier every year, mostly because my grandparents lost the energy they needed to really take care of the place. But they kept accumulating memories. Pictures. Bits if this and that from their many travels. Their home became their memories. Once we took away the memorabilia, it was no longer their home. Just four walls and a roof.
My step-grandmother has a fastidiously clean home. Everything but the grandkids’ play table is tidy. But there are family pictures everywhere. They crowd table tops and walls and bookshelves. It’s as if age has allowed her to realize that it is not possessions that are priceless, it’s people. Her people are her nest.
The same is true of any grandparent’s home. The walls and shelves and refrigerators are lined with faces. Friends and family and families of family. Everywhere you look, there’s another familiar smiling face. Take them down, and one gets the feeling the house would unravel, or melt the way a dream melts when the sunlight hits your eyes in the morning.