MaMaw and PaPaw’s House
After a warm and blustery day, a spring storm blew through St Louis sometime in the early morning hours. I had been asleep on the couch – long boring story* – and was awakened by the sounds of thunder and the strong winds trying to blow our grill around the deck. I don’t know if it was the boom of the thunder or the scrape of metal on wood that was what woke, but that’s not important. I lay in the darkness, the DVD music restarting every 35 seconds, and smelled the rain through the open window.
I don’t know why I started thinking about it, but I was reminded of sitting on my grandparents’ – MaMaw and PaPaw – sun porch whenever we visited them in the summers and watching the storms pass by, the wind gusting along the creek that ran behind their house.
I tried to remember what their house was like, but my memory is getting fuzzy. It’s been a little more than ten years since PaPaw passed away – at the end of my first semester of college – and MaMaw has been gone fourteen years. So, I lay there in the dark, smelling the rain and tried to remember:
Their sun porch had dark green astroturf. There was a ceiling fan, of course, to dispel some of the heat and there was a little glider-type swing that us grandkids would sit on and watch the world.
In the backyard there were porcelain animals. A family of ducks – we used to joke that they confused the real ducks that would wander up from the creek. Ah yes, the creek. Like many families in that part of Sugarland, Texas, MaMaw and PaPaw had a paddle boat. Since we couldn’t go swimming in the water – I seem to remember it was possibly polluted from the sugar processing plant – we would paddle around in the little boat.
We had kiddy pools to splash in and the spray of hoses to run through to cool off. Grass would stick to my bare feet and legs. We would chomp on huge fresh watermelons. To this day, I can’t even stand the smell of melon because I gorged myself on them so much one day that I made myself sick.
The are other weird little things that I remember about their house. How they were the only people I knew who had juice glasses. That they had cable television but the set was so old that you still had to turn a knob to power it on. They had a weird little round table that had tiers that rotated open. I would lay on their soft brown couch, with my face pressed into a pillow and stare at the tchotchkes that were collected on it.
There was a blue room and a pink room. The pink room had a big pink puffy armchair. There were pictures on the wall of my mom when she was young – she looked so glamorous to childhood me.
MaMaw would give me her old clothes to play dress up on. She was so little that they fit tall skinny kid me. I remember distinctly a red velvet dress with pearl buttons that I wore all the time.
Snippets. They fade. I don’t even know if everything I’ve written here is a hundred percent accurate. How much is just me trying to fill the gaps of my memory with something that looks pretty? Last night, when I couldn’t sleep and the thunder and lightning surrounded our little apartment, I thought of my MaMaw and PaPaw and the time we visited and there was a hurricane and tried to hold onto the images that remained in my head.
*I was really wired last night and was keeping Brian awake. Also, I have well-documented cure to insomnia: watching a favorite movie. So that’s what I was doing and why I was on the couch. Brian and I did not have a fight or anything because if we had, it would have been him sleeping on the couch.