I was selfishly dreading the day that my grandma would move. This past week, she downsized from her 2 story home in Pittsburgh to a nearby smaller condo. After the passing of my grandfather (or Pap Pap as the kids referred to him – and arguably the world’s coolest man), it just made sense. The old house was rich with memories, with everything from her 4 son’s bedrooms to the wallpapered kitchen (and living room. And bedrooms. Shoot, she probably doesn’t even realize how hip she truly is). And while a new family will begin their own journey (and my grandma, hers), I have to admit that it will be a little sad to go “home” to Pittsburgh and not see those same walls. Rather, there will be a new compact kitchen to bake her famous stuffed shells.
But all is not lost. With downsizing came some great perks, including those items that she could no longer hold on to. Of course, my mom and dad did everything they could to keep most of the possessions within the family, and the hubs and I were lucky enough to score a few items. And while we’re planning our trip to the Steel City to pick up said items (some furniture and a clock I can’t wait to hang in our home), there were a few little early surprises my aunt brought to us:
These tiny trinkets were too sweet to pass up, and while I didn’t ask for them, Grandma knew they’d be in the right hands in this teeny home of ours. Not to mention they look pretty darn cute on our living room shelves. I’m still working on the proper placement for the pups, but for now, we have them holding up the love letters.
But it gets better. Not only did Grandma think to pass on the figurines, but she had saved every single one of my drawings, letters, and homemade projects from the time I could hold a crayon. And when I say everything, I mean everything. My aunt had spent a week helping to pack, sort, and box, and upon her return to Chicago, she gave me bags of folders, envelopes, and old albums. To say that I was shocked would be an understatement. I was literally in tears when I realized how much she had saved – right down to those paper placemats from our favorite dinner joints.
This drawing was done when I was 6 (yes, she even wrote my name, age, and date the art was made on each and every item), and it’s probably one of my favorites. For being barely out of kindergarten, I was surprised at how my little mind captured two of my favorite people in the world, right down to the cardigan. And I especially love that I wrote “and to you,” rather than “to Pap Pap and Grandma.” Classic.
Apparently, this was my idea of the perfect house. Four flowers, rainbow, shining sun and all.
Each of my letters to them included a drawing of sorts, and I’m still trying to figure this one out. I’m also wondering how I went from drawing a somewhat cohesive depiction of two people while being age 6, but I’m struggling to draw a tree at age 7 3/4. Well, that, and I love that my Grandma actually wrote the 3/4. Of course I added my initial for clarity, you know, just in case. (FYI, Kristen is my sister).
But the icing on the cake was a simple, tucked away photo album found in the bottom of the stack. Prints included everything from my parents’ wedding day to these snapshots of me with my mom taken in Korea. I know I’ve been to Korea (where my mother is originally from), but I don’t remember much. Heck, I’d be lying if I said I remembered anything. So, here is my actual photo proof. I was there. And I was there, with my mom, in a garden.
As you can imagine, there’s too much to share, but these were a few of my favorites. My pop-up Halloween card just wouldn’t do justice as a scan, and my ho-ho Santa, while a hoot, might just need to be tucked away for the long haul. Memories can be embarrassing, after all. Thank you for strolling down this memory lane of mine, and kisses and hugs to my Grandma, who’s probably unpacking right this minute. Love ya, Gram, and see you soon.
This is too too sweet. Grandmas are the best. And don’t worry, her new place will still be home, especially if she’s making delicious stuffed shells!
You were quite the artist at 6! I was drawing “boy hair” as a 3-sided box on top of the head.
Ahhh…I agree with Amanda that this post is incredibly sweet and you were already quite a good artist at a young age (with good penmanship too!)!
It’s also a good remind for all of us to treasure family and let them know how important/loved they are!
Amanda, I love the visual you gave me of the “boy hair.” I know exactly what you mean! And yes, my grandma’s stuffed shells are to die for.
Susan, thank you!
You were so cute… and lucky for having such a great grandma :)!
KV Wow, this brings tears to the eyes. The memories keep coming back as we clean the house and see all the items that Grandma and Pap Pap have saved for years and years, ok enough years. The hanging mirrors with swans, the fork and spoon above the stove, the huge yard where all us played football in 10 degree weather on Thanksgiving, and the pots and pan that made the homemade sauce, meatballs, and noodles. As you said Kim, many new memories will begin and many new friends.
I do not even know your grandma and this brought tears to my eyes. So sweet. My grandma just gave me some of the things I gave her as a kid – including letters (which all pretty much said the same thing: Dear Bushi, Hi, how are you? I am fine. How is the weather? It is sunny/rainy/snowing/etc here. I miss you. Write back soon. Love, Kim K.). Melted my heart that it meant enough for her to keep all these years. Grandparents are amazing people, no doubt.
The emotional comments from my dad (Paul) and Kim are now bringing more tears to MY eyes! Thank you for the kind words, everyone. My grandma and Pap Pap are some of the greatest people you’ll ever know. Seems that no matter what I write, it still wouldn’t do them justice.
Kim! I also love how you wrote to “Pap Pap and You”!!! This is the best post ever! My grandma has saved all of my drawings too. She still has framed drawings up on the walls of the farm. Actually I think you saw some when we were there for my shower. “Grandpa’s Farm” and “Grandma’s House”. I’ll never forget the amazing summers riding my bike all over the farm. And every time I cook bacon, I think of my grandma and her amazing breakfasts. She also made awesome meatballs (non Italian, just greasy good), stuffing, and fatty little delicious chicken wings. And look at you with your pony on top of your head! Aw, you’re adorable! This made my day!
Such a touching post, Kim. I too had to say goodbye to my grandparents home in Detroit a couple years ago. I always vowed to find a home like theirs when I decided to buy and I did. My grandma use to keep my drawings also, and dated them with my age. In 2008, we had to move them to an assisted living. My grandma passed a week later (also 2 months before my wedding). I made sure to take my favorite memories with me from their home and display them.
What a lovely surprise!! My dad is like this too, keeping every last thing from my brother’s and my past. I still find random things in his office, tucked away in corners or in boxes that I am sure I threw out ages ago.
Hey Kim, it’s your cousin Kelsey! Fancy seeing you on the apartment-dwellers-blogosphere, and we both even have “yellow” in our blog names! I’ve actually been reading yours for a little while now but I just had to comment on this post. Though we both probably have different memories of your grandma’s house (for me I remember playing the organ and playing card games with Uncle Tony and hangin’ out with Aunt Ele in the second living room), it is still sad for me that she moved, and that that house with all those memories is not “ours” anymore, so to speak. And it was sad in the same way when my grandma moved a few years ago too. But it’s so nice to see those little trinkets of Aunt Ele’s gone to a good home :) And that drawing of her and Uncle Tony is great! The cardigan especially — classic.
Kelsey, great to hear from you! I’ll be catching up on your blog as well.
To all: We’re really enjoying reading your own grandparent memories. Aren’t they just the best? xo
Kim – Since your grandparents are “family” to us since you joined our family that post was a joy to read. The special bond you share with them is obvious. Thanks for sharing. -Ann
And Scott, while reading your post about the Pecos house the vision of cleaning all those walls became way too clear! But the end result was worth it. -Mom
Such a sweet post! It’s really a beautiful thing to see you honor your grandparents in this special way. I love the photos of you and your mother, they’re very precious. Thanks for sharing your memories with us!
I know how conflicting it can be, when your grandparents (who typically have the most established patterns of anyone in your life) suddenly experience big change, it can make everyone in the family a bit uneasy. Some of the most vivid memories of my childhood are from times I spent in my grandmother’s house, and I can still picture the most random things in detail and even recall certain scents from her house. I remember poring over childhood drawings and old photos my older cousins had sent her, feeling like I’d never catch up to them, though now I’m finally “old” like them too, ha. Every day I use my grandpa’s antique wire cutters for my jewelry business, and though he died before I knew him they used to fit in his hand, and I will always move with me my grandma’s wonky old napkin holder, because it reminds me of all the times we’d play cards at her kitchen table with a snack before bed. It’s definitely not the “stuff” that’s enduring, but the associations and gestures tied to that stuff.
I hope your grandma is comfortable in her new place, she’s a sweetie. Love you Kim!
Thank you so much for writing this! From living with you, I remember that old napkin holder! Wow, it just flooded back college day memories. And you’re right, it’s all those memories and vivid photos in your head that’s tied to the “stuff.” I was just thinking today how Grandma and I would race up the stairs (there were 2 sets of stairs in the home), and she would always let me win. Once, I tried to race really slow to see if she’d beat me, and sure enough, I still won! I love that lady. And I love you, too, Kalli! Miss you and see you soon!
What a beautiful tribute to your grandparents! You are so creative and talented!
“ex” Aunt LuAnn