Posts Tagged With: playing in the snow

Grandaddy’s house

I grew up in this house.
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I always consider this my home, but never actually call it “home”. I only ever call it “Grandaddy’s house”.
My room was the window above the porch and the first one on the side of the house.

Grandaddy and my grandmother moved to this house from N Barton Street in Arlington when my mom was three or four. So that was 1947 or 1948. It was built in Falls Church. A post war, GI bill-sort of neighborhood called Tyler Park. The house is on the corner of a street with a big hill and a relatively flat street that dead ends into a church.

It was a great neighborhood to grow up in. We rode our bikes all around, up and down the hills. We played touch football and kickball and soccer on the open lawn of the church. We played on the playground and sledded down the hill at Tyler Park. Later on, when I was in middle school, it even had one of those brown Fairfax County Park Authority signs. (Why did I remember that?)

Last Saturday, YBW and I had an errand day that took us farther from home than normal. It started with me craving arepas on Friday. The closest Venezuelan joint is in Falls Church so I created an entire day around eating this food.
Saturday took us to Tiffany’s to leave my bracelet to have the new charm attached. Then to the jeweler to see about sorting the fact that my wedding ring is a teeny smitch smaller than my engagement ring. The goldsmith was precious and assured me it would be perfect when he was finished.

Since we were in Falls Church, I decided to take YBW to where I grew up. I know where he grew up, my girls went to the elementary school literally across the street. I’ve been there and seen the addition and listened to his stories. Even tried to find his family’s hand prints in the concrete of the end of the driveway apron addition.
I love that feeling of seeing and beginning to understand where he comes from.
It was time for us to experience that with my early life.

I told stories of landmarks that are gone or of new ones that sprang up as we drove from the actual City of Falls Church into Fairfax County but still ‘Falls Church’. I was amazed how excited I was to share my young life with him! This is where I went to second and third grade before they closed the school. It was Fairfax County’s Child Find building when I was last in this area. (About ten years ago.) But now, it has beautiful new additions and is a much needed elementary school once again.
Careful, the turn you want is on the curve in the road right across from that huge stone wall…

I forgot how narrow the streets are in Tyler Park. These mostly are yards with no driveways, so cars park on both sides of the street. So many of the little cape cods have been built out into huge living spaces to accommodate the large families now residing in them.

When we got to the top of the hill there was a car behind us and we couldn’t stop to look at Grandaddy’s house so he listened while I talked and we went down towards the church to turn around.
This is where my friend Jennie lived. Her mom left their family. It was a big deal in the late 1970s. Her grandmother still lives up the street across from the park.
Oh look! We used to sled on that same hill!! Hmm. I remember it bigger.

Here’s Grandaddy’s house now.
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That whole bit in the back of the house is an addition. The original house stopped where the roofline changes pitch. It struck me as interesting that the new owners built this huge addition but left the original metal casement windows.

I have great sadness that all the beautiful trees are gone. Two huge maple trees in the front yard. The one on the left of the sidewalk I could climb high enough that I could see all the way down the hill to Graham Road. The apple tree in the side yard that had long ago stopped producing apples but stood beautiful and proud anyway. All the gorgeous flowering shrubs. Mock orange and azaleas and hydrangeas. Pampas grass, forsythia, and flowering vines along the fence in the side yard. The sweet shrub and hosta that flourished in the shade along the left side of the house.

Here’s the house from the front. You can see where the porch used to be. There are two windows upstairs on the front of the house now.
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I could see people moving around inside through the storm door. I teased YBW they were feeling a whole lot of WTF? that I was leaning out the car window taking photos with my phone.
Honestly there was a part of me that wanted to boldly knock on the door, explain I grew up there and ask to be let in to look around. I didn’t though. Partly because of the language barrier. Partly because I wasn’t sure I could bear it.
I have wonderful happy memories of growing up and being loved in that house. But that was when it was Grandaddy’s house, and it’s not really his anymore. Hasn’t been since 1992.
It belongs to those new people. And with my whole heart, I hope they’re having a wonderful life there.

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the snowy weekend

I saw the first snowflakes begin to fall at 12:30 Friday and finally stop at 10:00 last night.
We shoveled a solid 5″ Friday after dinner. It was already dark out and there was almost an inch of snow on the driveway and sidewalks when we finished. The wind was bitter but that didn’t stop me from grabbing the camera!
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I measured 16″ on the back porch at 8:30 Saturday morning.
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We have the most wonderful neighbor with a snowblower who came and did the driveway and sidewalk to the porch. Made our lives so much easier! We dug out Thing C’s car and shoveled again late in the afternoon.
When we went out this morning we had to dig out the end of our driveway from where the plow came. The snow was almost up to my waist! As soon as we opened a space our neighbor was back to get the last of the snow. Last time it snowed, I made him a giant chicken pot pie. We haven’t yet decided how we’re going to thank him for this huge snow.

Even after all this time, I’m always surprised at how useless Thing G is at anything that requires effort. I was so frustrated at the snow shoveling situation. I got one half of the driveway clear while Thing G wandered aimlessly with a snow shovel in his hands complaining about how cold it was. Thing C, God love that kid. He works hard and never ever complains. He shoveled and shoveled and never once gave up. He did the sidewalk and porch and sidewalk in front of our house all by himself.

I’m fortunate enough to have been brought up by people who made sure I knew how to do practical things. From cars to home repair, to planning and executing most anything “handy”. I can do simple electrical and plumbing work. I know how to hang drywall. I paint like a boss! I can change the oil and tires on a car. I even know how to hotwire a car. (Why my police officer father thought I’d need to know that is curious to me.)
I’m a capable kind of girl.
The former husband used to say that I was “more of a ‘man’ than most men we know”. He meant it as a complement, and he was right.
Being a capable kind of girl is handy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not afraid of hard work. I’m not afraid of breaking a sweat or getting dirty. I jump in and get the job done. And I’m an excellent planner. So, when I’m working with less capable people, I get frustrated. I try so hard not to, but I just do.
I don’t understand how someone as smart and capable as YBW chooses not to be handy. I think it was the way he was brought up, apparently his dad kind of jerry-rigged most things and was a bit of a shouter. So he didn’t actually learn how to do these practical things properly. I believe that soured him. He’s not incapable, it’s more like he has no real interest in knowing how to do some of those “handy” things.
I know he likes the creature comforts. He’s not unwilling to try to do these handy things.

I’m sad that none of these boys really has any “sense of adventure”. Nobody wanted to walk in the snow to see what was going on in our neighborhood. Nobody wants to go out and “play”. They’re content to sit in front of computers and televisions. It makes me sad. I want to go out and take some photos. I want to do some back flops off the railing into the snow on the back porch. Nobody wants to play in the snow with me.
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Yesterday after a delicious midday meal of chili and cornbread, (Yummy!) we all went our separate ways in the house. Some of us had worked really hard and deserved a break.

I got Rick Bragg’s new book of essays for Christmas.
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I ran a bath and went with Mr Bragg on a lovely southern journey. Honestly, that bath was the most delicious hot soak I’ve had in ages! I was warm through and through for the first time in two days. It was quiet and peaceful and I read a book I’ve been excited about since it was published in September.
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When the snow stopped at 10:00 last night, I took my last measurement.
Exactly 24″.
Two feet of snow fell in thirty four hours.
How cool is that!?!
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I guess I can be as excited as a little girl about the snow but accept that I’ll be disappointed at the way the snow day goes. I guess I’m remembering snow days from when I was little and when my girls were little. When we worked and played together outside, then came in for hot chocolate and played more together inside. The world isn’t like that anymore. This new family I find myself in isn’t like that. That’s not how they roll.
That’s OK, because I just got a text from my neighbor up the street inviting me to come play with her, her five year old daughter and two year old son!
I’m going to play in the snow. Y’all have a great day!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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