Lately I have been thinking a lot about my childhood. Well, actually, my family. Immediate, and extended. Growing up, and holidays, and summers, and just family.
My brother and I spent a ton of time at my great-grandma's house. Now, when I say great grandma, I'm sure you think OLD. But, my great grandma was only 56 when I was born. She was definitely not a feeble old lady by any means. And spending time at her, and my great-grandpa's house was my favourite thing ever.
Christmases, birthdays, and every holiday in between were spent at her house. There were a lot of us...in adults alone there were at least 12, depending on who else stopped by. And kids, so many kids. Just grand kids alone, there were 10 of us, but other relatives and friends were inevitable for most holidays, and that would jump the number of kids up considerably. I smile to myself when I think of the little card table that would be set up in my grandma's living room. Before and after dinner, it was a euchre table. Gene, a close family friend whom we all just think of as family, would be leading the game. And he would usually have to stop playing to start an impromptu euchre lesson, because some of the older kids wanted to play too. And he would, patient as ever, explain it again and again, until they finally got it. At dinnertime, that card table was transformed into the "kids table" that's where we ate, and we preferred it that way. Where us cousins could talk, and not have grown ups listening over our shoulders.
The basement. Aaah, the basement. My grandma had the best basement...well, as far as basements go;) All of us kids spent most of our time down there, when we weren't outside. There was a little t.v that only got 2 stations, a fold out couch, that was turned into a pretty awesome wrestling ring, a bar...yep. A bar. We played bar pretty often, I have to say. And the basement was huge!! And I'm pretty sure it was soundproof.....all the adults liked us playing down there. We would turn the room into a hockey rink, and take shots at each other, we would wrestle, and we broke shit. Namely, one of the ceiling panels. We somehow broke it with a broom. But we used a piece of cardboard to kind of fashion it back together. We broke a hole right in the wall. Apparently 6 kids rocking really fast in a rocking armchair will go through the wall. Who knew? We destroyed that basement weekend after weekend. And then we would get the lecture that we never cleaned up after ourselves, so we were no longer allowed down there. But that quickly was reversed once the noise level of 8 kids got horrific.
We had fun, all the time fun. I spent entire summers there, all of my best childhood memories are there. I almost cannot believe all the people that are gone now, Great grandma, my great grandpa, grandma Sharon(dads mom), papa Chuck, Uncle Rick, Vi(Gene's wife), and our family hasn't really been the same since. In the span of 3 years, we lost 4 people. I think it broke us. The house, that house we all had so many amazing memories in, belongs to somebody else now. Our family, and extended family split between distance, and life is not the same. I long for those days. I long for my kids to know what it's like to have so many people around for Christmas dinner that you can't hear anything...but you love it. I want them to get excited, and giddy in anticipation of seeing everyone. Because that's how I always felt.
Those days feel like they are so long ago, but I am determined to get them back.