Thursday, July 02, 2009


365.183, originally uploaded by Vaedri1.

When my grandfather passed away, following my grandmother by only a few years, we had the sad task of going through his remaining belongings and disposing of the bits and pieces that had no special attachment to anyone left behind. Throwing the bags and boxes into the donation bins was the saddest part of the whole affair.

When we were sorting everything out, I was most drawn to those items that triggered memories - the red glass candy dish that was always full of those sweet and somehow dry pastel-coated almonds, the silly tartan tam with the red pom pom. And this painting.

Visits to my grandparents' home were not particularly exciting for a child. They lived in a small apartment with scratchy white stucco-ed walls. Looking back, it was a rather charming place, with arched doorways, and cunning little glass doors for windows. There was even the little metal door outside the apartment, decorated with an engraving of a bottle, that swung open to provide a place for milk delivery way back when.

But when I was small, it was a boring place, with no backyard, no toys, and no animals. My brother and I were not actively 'entertained' and were left to find out own amusements. One of the most popular activities during our visits was to dump out a jar full of pennies, both shiny and dull, and lay them out on the intricately patterned rug, sliding them about until our fingers turned green. We'd alternately sip at frosted glasses full of off-brand ginger ale and try to convince the rabbit ears to tune in something fun on the giant console tv.

Another favourite activity was daydreaming. I remember gazing at this painting, letting the adult conversation going on over my head fade to a distant drone, and imagine sitting at one of those tables. Under a red umbrella, maybe. And after tea, I would go up to the castle, maybe clambering up the steep, green rocks, or maybe I would wander up the cobbled High Street, stopping in the tourist shops as the road climbed higher and higher.

This is a memory that has in some ways become stronger as I've grown up, given structure and reinforcement by my actual visits to the city.

But I never did find that terrace.


The Knitted Squirrel said... YOUR childhood memory triggered the same ones from MY childhood. My grandparents had a similar painting only there was a bridge in theirs and I would go off to far away places...

Spalc said...

When we visited my paternal grandparents they still had a room with the toys from my father and uncle's childhoods in the basement. We'd head down and play with them. If a lot of us were over, it would usually end in a "block war". Two team, opposite ends of the room armed with these rubber building blocks. Chucking them at each other, full tilt.

that usually got the parents interested and we'd get called up for dessert or some other such thing to end the war.

15 years later, when grandpa was cleaning out his basement he called in my mother and aunts to collect things for the children. I owe my mom and my aunt big time for digging through the trash to find 19 of the 20 blocks AND the box. The other grandkids are jealous that I thought to ask for them. They bring back such good memories.

vivian said...

It's interesting how most "stuff" loses significance when it's owners pass on. But some items become that much more precious.

It's a fabulous painting. Enjoy it and the adventures within.

Kim said...

That is a beautiful painting. Funny, my sister and I did the same thing at my grandmother's apartment...only we used buttons instead of pennies.