My earliest memories are as a young girl in my parents’ first house. I remember running down the bedroom hallway looking up slightly to doorknobs. Light switches were perched just out of reach. It was a rambler – a one level house with a huge back yard. Most of my friends in the neighborhood lived in very similar style houses. It must have been typical suburban housing at the time. We did not have a single step in that house, except for one step up to our front door.
I have other vivid memories of going to my grandparents’ homes for dinner. Every Sunday it seemed my brothers and I were piled in the car with my parents, headed over to visit one set or the other. I feel very fortunate to have had all four grandparents in a nearby city, and to have known them all when they were young, active and healthy (and one is still alive today in her early 90s)!
What else was great about visiting my grandparents, besides endless fun, great food and enormous amounts of hugs? Their houses had…STAIRS. These houses were older, full of character, creaks in the floors, cracks in plaster and fancy chandeliers. Oh, the stories these houses could tell! The faceted, glass doorknobs looked like huge diamonds and I imagined they really were! Some stairs led down to basements – basements! – full of wonderful old artwork, my grandfather’s desk with a black rotary phone, typewriter and adding machine, shuffleboard tiles built into the floor and an easel with colored chalk for doodling. Another basement had small, old machine parts for my brothers to dig through, the washer and dryer and funny comic strip clippings on the walls. It was all endlessly fascinating.
The “up” stairs led to bedrooms, plushly carpeted with scores of old family photos on the walls. One staircase was so steep it just seemed so daunting and enormous to me, especially as a child! What a journey to just go upstairs to bed!