This post is personal and probably won’t be of interest to most, but to anyone who has had strong feelings toward a place they call “home”, it might be relatable. We moved next door to my grandparents on a dead end dirt road in our small town when I was 5. When I say small, I mean really small. Like, a population of 410 small. For 13 years I lived next door to grandma “Nettie” and grandpa Jim, and for all 24 years of my life I’ve been able to visit my grandparents house whenever I wanted, which has always felt like “home”.
My sister and I spent nearly everyday there in the summer time playing on the farm, or in the woods, or field. We would walk the trail that led between the two houses, “over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go.” It was a farm house with almost 30 acres of beautiful trees and fields in northern Michigan. There was a cabin near the house, a sauna, a beautiful garden, a workshop, a chicken coop, a pig pen, and swings from almost every tree. For a while there, we even had a little duck pond surrounded by the most beautiful greenery. There was an apple orchard, and a tree fort that only the eight of us kids knew how to get into. For myself, my sister, and our 6 cousins, it was a dream come true. We often called my grandparents woods the “hundred acre wood” just like from Winnie the Pooh.
Each year my grandparents hosted “Cider press” which was exactly what it sounds- a large gathering of family and friends who got together to press apples to make cider, drink beer, eat, and enjoy each others company. There were desserts, more food than anyone could eat, live music, glow sticks, bonfires, hay rides, haunted forest trails, pinatas, refreshments and laughs. Truthfully, it was more fun than I can even put into words.
Unfortunately the house on the end of Griffith Road, and the fun that came along with it is coming to an close as my grandparents finalize the sale of their house next month. Or as I frequently joke with my grandparents, “the sale of my childhood memories.” I can’t fight the overwhelming feeling of nostalgia that fills my heart when I think about the farm. For some reason, I thought my grandparents would never move. They lived there for as long as I have been alive, and to be honest in the later years I took the property and their home for granted by thinking that it would always be there. In the younger years however, that spot was really appreciated to it’s fullest potential.
My grandparents hair is turning different shades of whites and grays (even though they have more dark hair than any other couple I know in their 70’s). With aging comes the desire to not care for animals anymore, or to maintain a farm (no less 30 acres of land). I think they are searching for simplicity in this new chapter of their lives. Because they are aging, selling the Griffith Road farm is a great chance for them to build a home that better fits their needs as they grow older, and to not have to climb downstairs in the middle of the night to pee. (This is my poorly executed attempt at adding humor as I write to relieve the lump that is swelling in my throat).
In the fall when they told me they were listing their home, I brought my camera out to their house so I could take some photographs of the house and the property so that I won’t ever forget it. But here’s the thing, the memories of the house and the people that we spent so much time with will be forever in my head. Food and drinks can be had anywhere, cider can be pressed in any yard, ropes can be hung from any old tree, and laughs and tears can be shared between those you love at any place. Home isn’t a house. Home isn’t a property. Home is a smell of laundry, a collection of books, a hug from your grandma, a story from your grandpa, and a photo album full of memories. The sayings ring true in my head, no matter how cliche- “Home is where the heart is” and “Home is wherever I’m with you.”
And with that, we will say our farewell to the Griffith Road farm. Forever a fond memory of my growing up.
Until next time Griffith Road,