Friday, August 12, 2011

Part of My Heart is at Grandmas House

Vibrant bright red raspberries freshly plucked from the vine. The taste of the sweet small berries burst around my taste-buds. Daniel and I exchanged smiles as we filled the small green plastic containers overfull of those perfectly ripened raspberries from the yard at Grandma's house. Sure I realized that raspberries grew in other places besides Grandma Frances' house, but none seemed to have the same satisfying flavor of those ones. Perhaps the same could be said for that beautiful old home in the Avenues of Salt Lake City. Sure there are plenty of other houses I've been in, slept at, and lived in - none of those houses have ever compared to Grandma's house. It's funny how a house can become so much a part of who you are and and can so accurately define you & the journey your life has taken you.

The house is located mere minutes away from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. Minutes away from the fantastical world I grew up in. With adventures like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint Visitor Center, the Conference Center, the Beehive House, the Family History Center, Pioneer statues, and beautiful abundant gardens. Horse-drawn carriages, architectural marvels, and even church Prophets can be seen here. Yes this is where I grew up. Saw it, breathed it, lived it. My uncles would take me for walks here and let me climb up on the garden walls. My aunt Kimberly would take me to the temple gates where I requested to see the "pretty ladies" aka - new brides coming out of the temple after getting married. I would gaze at all the "pretty ladies" who seemed to be endless in supply and wearing their beautiful wedding gowns. Then of course there's Grandma Frances who tirelessly and patiently would walk me through the visitors center so I could "listen to the phones". There were several tiny models of the church's history arranged inside small cove rooms that below the glass viewing window had phones where you could pick up and hear all about the stories and history of the church. Not to mention the beautiful White statue of Christ in the huge round shaped room that is painted with a dark night sky full of stars and illustrations of how you might imagine the heavens appeared after creation. Occasionally I'd even go with her to General conference at the tabernacle, where I sat in the noisy kiddy-room and gazed up at the Prophets as they spoke. Such a magical place temple square is.

On the walk home from temple square I still remember Grandma Frances telling me about all the amazing things she remembered about the happenings there. She told me stories like that someone had once tried to break off a piece of the Christ statue (fingers? or toes? i forget which). Or how someone in a helicopter had once tried to steal the large Gold statue of Angel Moroni off the temple. Occasionally I even got to hear about all the crazy things my mom did as a teenager - like jumping out the 2nd story back window of the house to sneak out at night with her brothers and sisters. Or how my uncle Allan married his first wife Brenda at a wedding in the old house. I knew my Grandma, aunts, and uncles loved me so much simply because they spent time with me, and weren't (and still aren't) afraid to tell me their stories and advice from life.

Grandma's house was always filled with love. Even in the worst most debilitating moments of arguing and yelling I remember thinking how much my family must love each other because they took the time to not only make their own opinions unmistakably clear, but also to listen as others rebuked them. It's strange to admit but my heart is filled with joy, love & fondness when I think of those awful yelling matches. Perhaps it was because I was always immune to the disputes. Everyone took much more care not to harshly disagree when I stated my own opinions. Like why it really was okay for me to leave the house with the white fluffy Alaskan dog "Muppy" because I really needed candy from the store down the street and really thought it would be better to not go alone...

There's a wall in Grandma's house full of everyone she loves and holds dear. Filled so full of photos, that she was afraid to let me rearrange them once because there was a chance they might not all make it back up on the wall if the configuration wasn't just right. The living room isn't just full of plants that have accumulated dust since probably before I was born, or of books I read as a small child, or even of all the photos on the wall; but rather it's full of laughter, heated yelling matches, guilt trips, and loads of rolling eyes. Yes part of my heart is in that vaulted ceiling room. Forever painted in a cold icy blue, with puke mustard colored carpets. Yep true love. Sometimes I wonder if maybe my love affair with that house has nothing to do with the current condition of it, but rather the potential it has of someday becoming a beautiful crowning jewel of the neighborhood. Much like the relationships that have transpired throughout the rooms of the house. Every parent to child, sibling to sibling, aunt/uncle to niece/nephew, and grandparent to grandchild relationship has had the potential to become better, improved and more beautiful.

Memories of walks to temple square, beautiful historic neighborhood architecture, walls of photographs, and those sweet red raspberries are just a tiny glimpse into the part of my heart full of love I have for Grandma's house. As we made arrangements for Grandma Frances to move into an assisted living center (hopefully temporarily) I am reminded of how much love I have for that house and for the family it has held for so many years before and during my own existence. It's funny how your heart can become so attached to a building. Nevertheless I will love and treasure that house and all the people associated with it forever.