While visiting Hilton Head for Christmas my sister and I found ourselves talking about time spent at our grandparents’ house. With the age difference between us our experiences were vastly different. I remember the flamingos that greeted us in the front yard. They weren’t real flamingos of course, but I liked to pretend that they were. We never used the front door but the one through the then carport. My parents and I (pre little sister) occupied the bedroom suite in the back of the house beyond the den. If you want to know who broke the curtain rod in the bathroom back there, it was yours truly (Shh, don’t tell anyone). One day when I was about six or seven, I tried to be Tarzan, which was one of my favorite cartoons at the time. I wonder if that slip of paper holding it up is still there…
I had seven first cousins who were close to my age (I have a total of 14). When we were all there at the same time it was bedlam. Sure we could run around outside, making daggone sure we didn’t get in the way of Granddaddy’s horse, ooh but nighttime would set in and it was time to go into the house. Eight children! Last week I had the opportunity to watch my niece and two sons run around the house and as soon as you got one under control, the other would be doing something quickly. Then Joker Number Three was upstairs in the room screaming. I think that’s what got sis and me talking about Grandma’s house. Well in my case, my aunts would get tired of us acting crazy and put us on the couch. I think maybe six of us fit on the couch and the other two got to sit on the barstools (We would be in tears over who got to sit on the barstools) but nobody better even think about touching the rocking chair. That chair belonged to one of my aunts and it was off limits. The television stayed on CBS from Price is Right to Guiding Light to I want to say Hawaii Five-O but think the channel may have changed for the Rockford Files. I hear the Rockford Files theme song in my head. So the couch was where we stayed for the night until one by one we each fell asleep (except me).
My sister, who came along a few years later, recalled a different memory. She grew up with four of our cousins. Two of them were very close to her age. By then, the carport had been screened in and served as the new spot of exile! When they had gotten too noisy, they were to “Go to the porch!” We debated over who had it worse.
Recalling these memories (while practically pulling out our hair over our own children who were excited to be around one another) had us cracking up and I thought I would share them. There is one more memory of that house that I need to share: The pictures. From the livingroom, to the diningroom, to the the den are the photographs of each one of us in the family. Of course when I was young, they were just in the livingroom and diningroom, and there weren’t as many. Oh but to see them now! This image is so amazing to me that I had to include it in The Promise of Palmettos. Please enjoy this excerpt.