Think of a place, the first place that comes to mind. Is it one of your favorite places? Is it home? Have you been to this place before or is it someplace new? Can you recall all of the little details from it or just certain things? Is there a reason this place holds meaning to you or is it just someplace you've wanted to visit? Why do you connect with this place?
The place that comes to mind when I envision a location is a little blue farmhouse back home in New York. For most of my childhood, the house was where my Grammie lived. The pale blue house was framed by flowers and plants. In the background stood a small gardening shed and a large barn. The house was by a highway overpass, so when you went to sleep at night you could hear the traffic zooming past. The moving lights from the cars would trace shadows along the wall.
I have fond memories of visiting. As kids, we all loved going to Grammie's. She always had applesauce, chicken nuggets and cookies on hand. Chocolate milk was always available and we were allowed to play as we pleased. We'd spend hours running around the lower floor of the house playing tag. We'd sit at the kitchen table and do art projects. We'd build houses and other things with Legos. When it was time to settle down more for the night, we'd choose a movie to watch together or we'd play a board game.
Every Halloween we'd make sure to stop in and show off our costumes. Every year at Christmas time we'd stop in and open our presents. We'd stop in for special occasions too. Sometimes it would be because we'd done well in school and we were being rewarded. Other times, we'd be taken to see a new movie that came out in theaters.
The house became synonymous with the feeling of happiness that I felt when I was there. It came to represent all of the warm and loving feelings I had towards my Grammie. The two were inseparable in my mind. The house exuded grandmotherly love. It gave way to feelings of homeliness and childlike innocence. As children, the house always seemed so big. However, as I grew up, I realized that it was just a normal house filled to the brim with memories.
Eventually, Grammie moved to a smaller house. Her children and grandchildren were grown up. There was no need for the big house anymore. But the feelings stayed. Even now, when driving past the farmhouse, I can feel the tugging of familiarity from my childhood. I can remember all that the house was to us, to me. Most of the distinct memories I have of my childhood come from there. It still brings me peace, happiness and feelings of love.
Having children of my own now, I recognize that those feelings are more tied to the memories of the place. I hope someday that my kids get to experience that same feeling with their own grandmothers.