I’ve seen that red maple tree outside of my grandparents patio window a thousand times at its current size, yet each time I look at it I seem surprised that it’s so big. It seems like just yesterday my grandpa was putting the landscaping bricks around its base so my grandma could pants flowers around what was then, a very small tree. I remember him nursing that tree as it grew, putting a stick next to it to keep it straight and to ensure that it would grow big and strong. I seem to remember everything about this house in the exact way it was when I was 10 years old. For example, the wooden red wagon that was in the shed, the one that my brother would put me in and push down the driveway as fast as he possibly could until i was screaming and fearing for my life. I would have bet you a million dollars that that exact wagon was gigantic, every bit of 5 foot tall and large enough to fit a grown man, but in all reality, it is actually a very small wagon, smaller than normal. Or the fact that I now have to bend down to get into the door of the mailbox slot in their living room, it feels very unnatural and a huge reality check.
Maybe my subconscious works differently than most and it has taken the very best years of my life, the ones where things were not complicated and I had no care in the world, that state of mind is what my memory focuses on. I’m not complaining, I truly do prefer that view of this house.
So many things have changed around here, almost everything is gone, the house is empty but it still smells the same. There is no table to sit at and share breakfast with my grandmother, there is no one there anymore, but it still feels like home. But with it empty I noticed that I can appreciate the design and attention to detail that my grandfather put into this house when him and grandma were just a young couple, just starting their family and envisioned their future in this house.
1100 Patterson Road is a landmark. A legacy was born here, a legacy was nurtured here. There are more memories within these walls and this yard than one thousand books could hold. The “5-J Ranch”. This house built the foundation of so many people, it instilled morals, memories and the concept of family in all of us that were lucky enough to grow up in this house. Over 30 peoples blood come from this loving home that my grandparents built. And I know that there are many more people that were touched by this home and were impacted by the family that flourished within it over the years.
I doubt that John and Mildred ever had any idea how great of a legacy they created and how large of an impact they had on so many lives. And for that I am eternally grateful. Words can not express the intense admiration I have for both of my grandparents and the example that they made for all of us. They were the picture of true love and I couldn’t have asked for better people to grow up watching and admiring.
1100 Patterson Road – Est. 1954 The House That Build Me
© 2015 Jamie Thurber. @jmeirene. All Rights Reserved