Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Aunt's House

Homes are important to me. There's my parents home, where I lived my whole life and where my parents still live. There's my grandma's house, where I spent nearly every holiday growing up. And there's my Aunt Cin and Uncle Stan's house, one of my favorite places. My uncle died when I was in college, and my aunt sold the house years ago. Last night I laid in bed worrying that in 20 years I wouldn't remember all the little details that meant so much to me as a child. So here are all the little things that made that house my second home.

My aunt and uncle lived in Parker when it was still "the country" and Denver metro still a finite entity. We would drive out to their home in the country nearly every weekend (I think - one doesn't keep close track as a kid). On clear nights, we'd lay on their front lawn on blankets and look for shooting stars and satellites. On Saturday afternoons, we'd mosey up their dirt drive to offer carrots to Wilbur, their neighbor's horse. And on summer days, we'd play in their free-standing pool in the backyard.

My favorite room to remember is their bedroom. On nights when my parents would stay up late talking with my aunt and uncle, they'd tuck Tara and me in their big bed. They always had a large stuffed animal on the bed that looked like some kind of monster. I can't remember it's name - Dilbert perhaps? - but we loved it. On either side of the bed were my Uncle Stan's stained glass lamps he'd made, navy blue and white, on dimmer switches. As a kid, the dimmer switches seemed like magic. I remember running my finger over the switch like a talisman. They also had an electric blanket - truly, it was a magical bedroom. I remember the sweet feeling of drifting off to sleep in their cozy bed listening to the sounds of talking in the living room with my sister's warmth beside me.

My Aunt Cin had little magical things hidden all over the house. In the living room, there was a display cabinet full of tiny glass miniatures, each compartment with a different statue, a little mouse in this one, a little bear in that one. My aunt loves beautiful things, and so they were scattered around her house, from the embroidered towels in the bathroom to her china hutch in the front room. For some reason, I also vividly remember a basket full of wooden apples that sat on the living room floor. I would stroke the basket and long to bite into the deep red of the fake apples.

In the hallway hung a quilted picture my aunt had made of their home. It showed Willy, their collie/shelty, it showed Wilbur peeking over the fence, and my favorite was the little quilted pool. In the kitchen, it seemed there was always lemonade or iced tea to drink and magnets on the fridge from my aunt and uncle's travels in New England.

The basement is where us kids often played. There was a pool table, and I loved putting the pool balls in the pockets and watching them wind their way through the inner workings of the table (it had a clear side you could view the balls through). My uncle's stained glass studio was in the basement and he'd take us in to show us his latest projects. And on long afternoons when I didn't much feel like playing pool, I'd play Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego on their computer (which is why I know where Reykjavik is).

Late at night, my parents would bundle us up to make the drive home. I'd sink deep into the car seat and peer into the dark pine trees - sure that their were wolves out there that would just love to have a little girl for a midnight snack.

I realize that reading about all these disparate elements probably doesn't seem highly interesting from an outside view. But it reminds me of how it's so many little things that make up a home - simple things like the iced tea in your fridge to the embroidered towels in the bathroom. It reminds me of the wonder of the world through a child's eyes, and it excites me that I get to create a place of warmth and wonder for my daughter, just like my aunt did for me.


Anonymous said...

Those are wonderful memories. My memories of playing at my grandparents' homes in Nebraska and Florida seem so close I can almost smell the rich fragrance of wood floors, feel the heavy humidity, taste the lemony orange kumquats for the first time, hear the low murmers of my family visiting in the next room, step onto the screened porch to look out at the iris in the garden, see the Spanish Moss hanging low from branches and lightning bugs flitting in the yard on a warm summer evening. The quilted picture of Cindy and Stan's home was made with much love by me for their Christmas present one year. I made it for them to capture the same memories you talked about which were so important to me too.

Amber said...

Ah! I thought it might be someone else who made it. Thanks for correcting me. :)

Anonymous said...

What a loving tribute to your aunt, Amber. As an aunt myself, I have an inkling of just how much this means to her.

Anonymous said...

I loved that, Am!

A. Skidgy