This time of year always makes me think of my Grandparents. They made Christmas a magical experience every single year of my childhood. When they passed several years ago and I was asked to write something for their memorial service, the memories overwhelmed me. I thought I'd share with you what I wrote for them.
The House on Nicholas Drive
This is a picture of me in front of Grandma Jean and Papa’s house.
It was my ‘special turn,’ which meant time alone with my Grandparents.
I am standing by their juniper bushes on Nicholas Drive. I’m wearing the brand new first day of
school outfit they bought for me.
I loved that outfit.
To this day, the smell of juniper bushes reminds me of
Grandma Jean and Papa.
When I look at this picture, I want to say to my younger self, ‘turn and run to them and give them
a big hug, tell them you love them. Someday they won’t be there anymore.’
But, alas, childhood doesn’t see the
big picture. I thought
the house on Nicholas Drive
would always be there with Grandma Jean and Papa waiting to greet me. Inside, the tables would be
set and a grand feast would soon be served.
Christmas Eve at Nicholas Drive
was a highlight in my life. Papa always wore his red vest and played Santa—handing out all the gifts as we opened them one at a time. Grandma Jean always served snowballs for dessert.
I’ve never seen them sold anywhere; it was a magical concoction that was known only to her.
I tried to make them once, but they didn’t turn out—the magic wasn’t there.
I dream of the house on Nicholas Drive sometimes.
I wish my children could experience at least one Christmas Eve there.
Grandma Jean used to give me Black Jack gum, the stick kind. It was black and licorice flavored.
She also gave me Fresca to drink. These were more of the magical treats that only existed at her house.
Papa gave me rides on his knee that always ended with, ‘shave and a haircut, two bits!’
I still don’t know why.
But, after he said it he’d straighten his leg and I’d slip down just as if I was on a slide.
Grandma Jean and Papa’s love for one another
will always be one of the greatest examples I have ever seen of a happy marriage.
The saying, ‘nothing is constant but change,’ begins to have new meaning as I must say goodbye to
my grandparents. An era, a generation is gone and I mourn the loss from my life.
But, I will see them again and something tells me that the next greeting will be even better than
the one I always received at
the house on Nicholas Drive.