Grandma's Neverland This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 25, 2011
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At times, life moves too slow. But more often days and night speed by, blending into one and other to form a jumble of memories. My life has feels this way more often by the day. I try to ignore the bit of grey on the muzzle of the puppy my family rescued from the pound. I still see my younger sister as a child, when she is nearly a young woman. And my “baby” sister, can walk and talk to the point she can barely be called less than a toddler.

I wish I was Wendy sometimes, but I would have stayed in Neverland. Only my “Neverland” as a child did not contain pirates, alligators, and mermaids --out side my imagination at least. No, my childhood playground was much better. A small house without a quarter acre to it’s terrain, seemed as big as the world to a young girl. It was my grand mother’s home.

My grandmother was an amazing woman. When her husband left her in a run-down old house to raise three children, she did. She worked at a little bait-shop about a half mile from her home, and everyday she would walk to and from work. Though Michigan’s hot summers and cool winters she did what she could to provide for her children. When my mother grew up, and went on the have a family of her own, that run-down old farm house seemed to be a second home for me.

I loved to visit my grandmother, and she loved my visits as well. As her only grandchild, and her my only grandmother, we loved and spoiled one and other. She bought me all the candy, ice cream, and curly-que cheetos my heart desired, and all refrigerator-masterpieces were for her. She did not own a car, for it was unnecessary because everywhere worth going was within walking distance. Though to a young child with a wild imagination, that old farm house held the world and more.

The interior of the house was comprised of a variety of rooms that could be easily transformed into any and all scenery. The back porch was a haunted house, within a signal room. Dery grey walls added to the ire feel created by the gloomy windows. Cracking and missing bits of linoleum floor titles scratched against creaky floor boards with every step. Spiders spun webs in the corners and over the dim light that cast it’s way though the hazy windows. And with every gust of wind a window plans rattled and banged as if from the fury of some unseen beast.

The basement was across the kitchen from the back porch, and it was even more horrifying. A wooden door with a flimsy latch held back the beasts within its depths. The door looked as if it belonged in a castle dungeon, and would’ve made any dungeon master proud. When the door creaked open it reveled a steep stir case, with gaps the perfect size for a hairy clawed hand to reach though, between each step. On particularly sunny days I had the courage to venture to the depths of the basement in search of toads that fell in from the window well. The only light in the basement came from one small window just at ground level, and only illumination half the basement. The room was always cluttered with pipes and old appliances, like how a grave yard is full of bones. The slightest rustle in the dark held of the room sent me sprinting up the stairs to the safety of the kitchen.

The kitchen was not a place of mystery and adventure, but a place of rest and security. The room was plain, with yellow walls and a brown carpet both faded and stained by age. An old wooden table with three hefty wood chairs sat against one wall. The table held an assortment of old nick-knacks and souvenirs I never tried of. From the plastic snow globe that read “Florida Snowman” but contained only water, a small top hat, a carrot, and two black beads. I loved to marvel at the penny encased in a rubbery-feeling glass, that magnified every detail of the coin. My favorite of the treasures by far was the little player piano. I never tried of winding the little toy and hearing the beautiful little song.

The table top was not the only place for treasures to be found. An a adjacent room holding only a couch and old enormous old record player, gave the feel of a ship. And the if that room was the deck, the next was the hull. The room was small, but contained to much, from old toys, to magazines, books, records, and anything else that could be imagined in the plies of boxes. For me that room was like discovering a pirates hidden treasure.

The living room and my grandmother’s bedroom gave the feel of a cottage that housed a variety of mythical creatures. The connecting front porch was always sunny and beautiful. It felt like a butterfly garden, but could have easily been the home of fairies. My favorite toys were kept in the living room, and it was home to most of my games with them. The door leading to the second floor was in the front room, and it was the passage to the tomb of an ancient society.

The second floor was nearly vacant, abandoned by it’s former inhabitants. The beds, dressers, and closets were empty and coated with dusts. The few toys that were left there were shoved into corners and forgotten. The walls of what once was my mother’s room were decorated with doodles and drawings of all sorts. The canyon and marker made me think of the paint upon ancient cave walls. Climbing that stair case was like looking into the past.

Outside the house held even more wonders. The ferns of the front yard were a lush rainforest jungle. The tires marking the drive were mountains to be climbed. The side of the house was had an array of looped and curled bushes and trees forming a perfect tunnel. That tunnel was one of my favorite places to play, because every time I ran though it I left my world for another. Next to the tunnel was a sea for clovers I combed though for four-leaf-clovers and leprechauns.
In the corner of the property was my personal forest. It wasn’t more than a collection of a few trees, but it was as big as Red-Riding Hood’s forest to me. Next to my little forest was an unused barn and silo. I was too fear full of the barn, due to it’s rotting age. The path to the silo held a gap between two rocks that created a perfect little nook for a variety of creatures. Though my grandmother said it was home to a wood-chuck, in my mind’s eye I saw brownies sleeping in the gap.

The silo was the tallest building my small eyes had ever seen. Metal rungs climbed the side of the empty grey tower, which I could have easily climbed, but I was much too fearful too. At the top was a single board of ply-wood, on which a fat raccoon always slept during the day. I never tried of looking up at the glutton, and laughing at how something so large could balance on such a small board.

Next to the house was an enormous pear tree. It reached high into the sky, and spread branches heavy with fruit. Every year I excitedly danced out to the tree hoping for a fresh treat. But that tree was cursed by a witch, curse to only grow rocks which had to sit in the window sill for several days before they were edible.

Along the right side of the house, beginning several yards from the pear tree, was a white fence. My Grandmother and I would walk though the tall brown grass, down a well worn path. At the end of the path was a small pound. My Grandmother would sit on a log as I played in the cool shallow water. When I left the pound and re-dawned my shoes and socks, I would sit beside her on the log. We would sit and talk, telling stories of school and life, before going back to the ancient farm house.

My Grandmother passed several years ago, and her ashes where spread upon the grounds of that old house. I often think what it would be like to speak with her again. If she would even recognize the girl that once depended on her for everything as a women about begin life on her own. I wonder what it would be like to go back to that old farm house. To see a tunnel to Wonderland where a passer by only sees over grown foliage. To see a forest where others only see a few trees. I would look up the silo and try to find an even fatter raccoon, or maybe look for a Brownie along the path. I would walk the path to the pond, and splash my feet in the water before resting on the old log. I would look upon the pile of rubble where a house with so many personalities once stood. And I wonder if that house still serves as a home for my Grandmother in Neverland.

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