Sunday, 22 November 2009

Things I love about my house - Part 6

Two years ago today my last remaining grandparent, my Dad's mother passed away.

I always felt a bit guilty about my relationship with Grandma. When my Dad left my Mum I didn't speak to him for 4/5 years and consequently lost touch with half of my family. I didn't mean to, it was just one of those things that happened. I was young and at uni and yeah probbly a little bit selfish.

When I started seeing Dad again I went round one afternoon to see my Grandma and stepping into the house was like stepping into a time warp. I was immediately transported back to my childhood as all the familiar objects surrounded me. I remembered the books on the shelves and the pictures on the walls. I remembered where the floorboards creaked and remembered stealing biscuits out of the larder. I remember walking about the garden with Grandpa, who died when I was about 9.

He loved that garden and I remembered helping him clean the fish pond out one summer's day and trying to catch the newts while the next door neighbour's cat, Fat Cat, stood hungrily by.

I remember helping Grandma do the washing. She had one of those twin tubs and she would let me swirl the clothes around with the big wooden stick while I inanely chattered away.

But if I had to pick one ting that encapsulates all these memories it would be the clock.

I was obsessed with this clock when I was a little girl. I absolutely loved it and would sit staring, never daring to touch it, for ages at a time. It was just the most beautiful thing and I couldn't get enough of it.
When I first saw Grandma after the long absence I snuck into her room just to have a look at it again. Would I still love it? After all your tastes changes over 10 years or so.

If possible I loved it more.

I have many regrets about my relationship with Grandma. I should have tried harder, I should have asked her all the questions I wish I had the answer to now. What was it like during World War II? How did she meet Grandpa? What was their wedding like? All the things I was too young to ask when I saw her all the time and totally absent from her life when I would have thought to ask them.

I didn't get to see her much during her final months. Her house was flooded in the July 2007 floods and she went to stay with my Auntie down near Plymouth while the house was repaired. She got too frail and ill and never returned to Hull. She passed away in a lovely nursing home, where they took absolutely amazing care of her. I did speak to her on the phone a couple of days before she died so I'm pleased I got to say my goodbyes.
After the funeral I found out what Grandma had left me in her will. There was a savings account that she had opened when I was born and had been putting small amounts of money into ever since. And then.....

I got my clock.

When I got it home and I was examining it from every angle I looked at the bottom and saw that she had written my name. I think that clock had belonged to me for a very long time.

So although I have my regrets, most importantly I have memories that are all sealed up, ready to be opened whenever I glance at my fairytale clock.


Trish said...

Oh dear...this brought tears to my eyes. How beautiful...not just the clock...but your post. All the years of belonging....that maybe you say now you might have had regrets about not keeping in touch or not asking things you maybe ought to you said...."I think that clock had belonged to me for a very long time" say so much in that sentence.

Petit Filoux said...

Such a heartfelt story... I'm not sure that's even the right word I want to use but it made me feel all sad for a bit, but then happy to hear that you got the clock. Families hey, they're a funny old thing

PinkCat said...

Such a beautiful personal post - it certainly made me feel tearful. What a lovely clock - it's like something out of a fairy tale. x

The Curious Cat said...

oh! Tears spring to my eyes...your grandmother obviously loved you very, very much. We always have our regrets where grandparents are concerned as we are so young when we meet them and it is only when we are older that we think - ah if I had been wiser then I would have asked to know them is just one of those things. I'm sure she knew you loved her. xxx Beautiful clock- I'm glad she left it to you xxx