Last week we laid my Gran to rest after a long life of 98 ½ years.
I add the half because she was so determined to hit 100, I figured I should give her all the months as well as the years. She passed quietly in her lodge in Lacombe with my dad by her side; he sang and read to her as she drew her last breath and left behind almost a century of care and love to her family.
I will remember her fondly.
As I stroll down memory lane I am drawn back to the home she had with my Gramps when I was a kid. They lived on a big corner lot in northwest Calgary and we were always excited to go there as kids.
When you look at photos it is the typical 1970s home with wood paneling and ugly carpet but when you remember the Christmas times and family gatherings you pretty much only remember the fun.
You remember the long basement hallway with endless doors for numerous hide and seek games. The upstairs was for the adults and contained the good dishes and plastic wrapped furniture but the basement was our territory.
As was typical of homes in the 70s, it had a summer kitchen in the basement which was always stocked with pic a pop, Koolaid and ice cream sandwiches. We had cupboards with chips and popcorn downstairs and felt like we never had to venture upstairs until the call for supper was heard.
The home had a formal dining room and built in bench seats in the kitchen which were surrounded by huge windows. When you sat in the kitchen it felt open and relaxed and my cousins and I never minded sitting at the ‘kids table’ at my Gran’s house.
The other place my grandparents had was a cabin on Gull Lake.
It was an architectural nightmare of a place which held a trailer and an addition. From the inside, it felt roomy and wonderful to look at the water but in reality it was old and dated.
Did I mind bathing in the pink tub after a day of playing and did I notice the rust stains in the sink when brushed my teeth? Not even once, the times spent there had nothing to do with the décor or interior of the cabin.
We had a huge deck out back where we had picnics and fires because my gramps built an outdoor fireplace.
As a kid this deck hanging over the side of the hill was magical and not till I was much older did I realize that it was a streetcar buried into the side of the hill that my gramps had added deckrails onto!
It is said that we look at our past with rose-coloured glasses on and when I think back to those quirky spaces where I visited my dear Gran I realize that the memories are of her and her love for me.
I would love to wander back to Calgary and revisit her home and sadly the old cabin has been torn down but the memories of times spent in those places are with me forever and are a source of joy when I remember her homes of my childhood.
Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Realtor/Ask a Designer’.