House on Miry Brook This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Maybe because I was so young I don’t remember things the way they really were. Maybe I have fictitious memories.

A good portion of my youth was spent at my grandma’s house. We call her Grandma KittyCat because we couldn’t pronounce Casazza and she had two cats. Grandma KittyCat lived only 15 minutes away, on a narrow road only one car could drive on at a time. We always honked the horn to warn cars coming toward us.

The house was large for a widow, but perfect for her large family which at one time had filled the rooms with laughter. It was a two-story, dark-brown bungalow with a front porch full of rockers. The porch was the best place to sit on cool July nights to watch fireworks. I used to pretend it was a stage and dance for hours. My dad mastered the unicycle on that porch.

The house on Miry Brook was the first my grandparents owned. They bought it in 1950 and their five children grew up there. In a way, I did, too.

When my grandfather died in 1967, my grandmother raised her family on her own. Apart from her family, her home on Miry Brook was her greatest love. As a working single mother, she tended to her home with the help of her sons. The grass was always mowed, leaves raked and leaks fixed. When her last child had grown and moved away, the chores didn’t end; she did them alone and never complained.

The time I spent at the house on Miry Brook was always a joy. It started when my parents honked the horn, and my grandma would be on the porch waiting for my brother and me to run across the lawn to hug her legs.

One of the best things about that place was the lawn: ours was a steep hill, but hers was flat and large. My brother and I could play all the games we wanted. There seemed to be endless hiding places, and on warm days we ran back and forth through the sprinkler, growing tired from so much laughter. We would go inside for Grand-ma’s sun-brewed iced tea or lemonade. The two of us would sit at the kitchen table, listening to Grandma while she sang along with Frank Sinatra.

In the backyard, there was a bush so huge it was more like a tree. I would crawl through the first layer of tiny leaves to the branches inside strong enough to hold us. We would run to this bush when our parents told us it was time to leave, and hide there, covered with leaves. We did this every time, so it wasn’t a mystery where we’d disappeared, but we thought it was. My brother and I would crouch, perfectly still, and peer through the leaves to watch our parents until one of us would giggle and blow our cover.

The carpet in that house was luxurious. I would lie where the sun warmed it, stretched out like Grandma’s cats and fall fast asleep. The living and dining room carpet was a rich sea-blue and thicker than any I’ve ever known. In the afternoon, the sun would shine into the dining room and the chandelier over the table would create rainbows on the walls, where I would place my hands so that they, too, would be colored.

At family gatherings Grandma would bring her crystal punch bowl set into the dining room. The delicate cups with tiny handles hung on the rim of the bowl, and if I reached high enough, or stood on a chair, I could touch the glasses with all their intricately carved patterns. I would stir the ladle round and round, until the punch spun like the water draining from my bathtub. I would do this until my mother caught me, and told me not to touch it again, unless I wanted the punch to spill all over Grandma’s beautiful carpet.

I was afraid of one thing in that house. There was a window in the bathroom downstairs and I feared that a big, brown bear would sneak up and watch me. I was so afraid that I would always pee as fast as I could and then run to the safety of the kitchen.

My grandma moved out of her house when I was seven because the area was getting built up. It wasn’t the residential neighborhood where she’d raised five children anymore. Now she lives on a quiet street; her house is much easier to maintain. The yard is not as big but, she says, there are “plenty of things to keep me busy. There are 37 shrubs in this yard, you know.” My grandma is not a short drive away anymore. I see her only a few times a year on birthdays and holidays.

I drove by the old house on Miry Brook a while ago. It was in the worst condition. An old, worn-out couch and rubbish were strewn on the front porch which was once so grand. I went to the back and honked the horn. The bush had grown since the last time my brother and I hid in it. The backyard looked like a junkyard, covered with trash and old cars.

Perhaps my memories of that house aren’t reality. Maybe I remember things that way because I want to believe it was a lovely home with history and warmth. I want to keep my memories, though, because my childhood was filled with magical and beautiful things.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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