Jackie tells of the many adventures and emotions of a little girl growing up in a large family in the fifties.
Katie is returning to the home place she had known before her family had to move away. Her dad is driving her hours from home to spend Easter and revisit where a home had been. This is a peek into Katie's family and different members she would never have near her except for very short visits, ever again.
Can You Go Home Again?
Katie had been very surprised to get to go to her grandparents a week before Easter holiday. It was the first time she had been back since moving. Her grandparents had been to see where she lived so she had seen them. But now to get back where she had ran to from her house close by here was so thrilling.This was warmer weather and she had already peeled off her sweater before she and her dad pulled down the long driveway.
Her grandmother had flowers blooming already too! Her grandfather was on the porch rocking and he held up his arm to wave. Katie loved to sit and watch her grandfather on this porch staring into the mountains. His hazel eyes were just like Katie’s mothers. They would lock in a look far away to know they were seeing beyond what they were looking at. Her grandfather was half Indian and her mother also had his jet black course hair.
Everything looked the same outside the house. On the inside where they smelled her grandmother’s great cooking though, he showed her dad all he had done since they left.
The kitchen was all the way on the other side of the house! There was also a new dining room beside it and of course her grandmother’s furniture was always brand new and beautiful. So huge and heavy. There was a kitchen to eat everyday meals in and then a big dining room just for company!
There was never a chance for dirt to settle anywhere for Katie's grandmother worked all the time, inside and out. Katie just ran to find her and was grabbed and given a big hug on a big belly. Her grandmother was full and round, her grandfather was paper thin. Her grandmother had red hair and only two of her children got that red hair, of the ones that lived that is. She had six boys who died as babies or really young toddlers. She had seven children who lived; four girls and three boys. She was only fifteen when she married.
Her grandmother kept hugging Katie while she showed her this new part built high on the back. It was looking out through trees to that railroad track across the river! There was even a closed in porch here with this kitchen and dining room. Way up high and long steps with banisters going down to the backyard.
Her grandmother always got anything and everything she wanted and her grandfather built this house and did whatever her grandmother wanted to it. Katie didn’t need anyone to tell her that, she knew it. Katie was not supposed to tell any family secret business to her grandmother but she was so excited seeing her; she wished she knew what that was so she could have a surprise too.
Katie’s dad would not stay to eat. He had to get on the road to see his parents he said, mainly his dad who he called Poppy. His mother was bedridden and if she was feeling bad he would not wake her. Then he had to head back home to not leave his family alone all night. He waved and was gone.
There was no goodbye hug. The only hugs between Katie's father and his children was a Christmastime, thanking him for their presents as their mother had taught them to do. Katie had no idea why this was.
Sunflowers and Music
Now Katie went the house over and she so loved it! All the floors were beautiful wood. Her grandmother had windows all across her bedroom looking out to her garden and that was just off the big living room. In the summertime, there would be huge sunflower seeds blocking out the sun
Her bedroom furniture was big too and such pretty wood like all the other. She had a trunk that matched it that she said one day she would give to Katie. She let Katie open it and look in but she could not go through it and unfold any of the beautiful things or take them out.
On the far end where the kitchen used to be Katie would be sleeping. There was a well outside that room that at one time had been used. Katie’s mother said a ghost had been seen there. It was a woman and her mom loved telling that story. Katie did not believe in ghosts, though. She had never seen one nor had she looked for one, so it didn’t scare her at all.
This was Saturday so after they ate and while her grandmother did dishes, Katie got ready for bed. Then they watched music on television until bedtime. The grandparents loved music and so did Katie. They patted their feet and Katie's wiggled back and forth, just off the edge of the big couch. She remembered this from when she lived here and it was like she had never left.
They never fussed at her but then they never let her do anything in fear she might get hurt. Sometimes she wished her grandparents could be her mommy and daddy. She would just pretend for now they were.
The next week Katie watched her grandmother work in her flowers and planting vegetables while her grandfather was at work. Before he got home her grandmother started cooking on a big meal to be ready when he got there. She had geese now so she made Katie stay on the porch or close by her somewhere so they wouldn’t bite her.
Katie could not wander or run and play as she always had. Katie knew geese didn’t have teeth but she had to mind what her grandmother said. It didn’t seem as much fun as it used to be and Katie started missing her little brothers and her mother.
She hardly ever saw her dad so she really didn’t miss him, but her brothers and mother she had fun with all the time. She got tired of the older two younger brothers sometimes because they were not babies and harder to watch and make them mind, but they still did things together like sliding with an old sock to buff the hardwood floors and played guessing games. Katie, being oldest, got to be boss of most things they did!
No questions, No Lies
Like an answer to a prayer; before Easter weekend came around, Katie’s dad showed up to take her home. Katie heard her grandmother say they expected Katie was going to stay through Easter. Katie was busy throwing her clothes together to take home so she didn’t hear why he was here so early.
She just felt so happy to be going home; and here were her new Easter things her grandmother had bought her too. They were so pretty, she always bought her such fancy things she loved. There were a dress, shoes, hat, and gloves. All in the fancy bag her grandmother bought them in.
She would have to stop feeling so happy, it might show and her grandmother would get her feelings hurt. So she smiled as big as she could so she could get it over with and then she tried to look sad. It was easier now.
Her grandmother hugged her and gave her a hug for her grandfather too; since he was still at work. Katie hugged her as tight as she could and thanked her again for the Easter things. Her dad took her things and helped her in the front seat. As he turned the car around Katie got up on her knees and waved hard at her grandmother on the porch. She still loved her so much but she was just so happy to be going home!
Then Katie sat down as good girls do, especially with a strict daddy. She gave out a long sigh and smiled as they pulled out of the driveway. Her daddy gave her a shocked look and started laughing. He wasn’t much for conversation but each time he looked at her smiling face on the way home he would laugh. He didn’t ask any questions and if he had Katie wouldn’t have had any answers.
© 2017 Jackie Lynnley