One of my favorite places growing up was my paternal grandparents’ house. One of many boxy row houses squeezed alongside one another in San Francisco’s Miraloma Park neighborhood, most of the homes were built there in the post-war 1940’s. Their uniform stucco walls weathered the infamous San Francisco fog well and from their flat tar and gravel roofs or upstairs bedroom windows, the views of the Bay were absolutely spectacular—at least on those seemingly rare days when the sun actually broke through the gray.
Whenever my parents and I would come by for a visit or a weekend stay, I’d race down the walk between closely trimmed hedges, race up the painted concrete steps, and ring the doorbell next to the dark wooden door. Grandma, plump and rosy-cheeked in her apron, would often be working in the kitchen when we’d arrive. She’d greet us at the door with a delighted laugh, and as she dried her softly-lined hands on a faded tea towel, I’d rush in for one of the warmest and best hugs—ever!
The door would shut tight behind us with a solid thump and click, shutting out all the worries and cares of the outside world. We’d cross the worn hardwood floor, pass through the dim, book-cluttered living room, and head straight for the kitchen. With its large windows, pale yellow paint, and bright vinyl tablecloth, the room was always warm, cheerful, and inviting. On warmer days, the fragrance from Grandma’s favorite “Cecile Brunner” rose bushes would drift in through the open windows, along with the joyful song of her many backyard birds.
Grandma would put a pot of water on the stove to boil for the adults’ coffee or tea and bring down a package or two of cookies from the high cupboard above the oven. Sugar cookies, iced raisin cookies, or chocolate chip “Angel” cookies—all were well-appreciated, especially when dunked in a glass of cold milk which, in those days, was still delivered to their doorstep in heavy glass bottles with little pop-out cardboard caps.
While the adults were catching up on the latest news and gossip, I’d usually excuse myself and go explore. Sometimes I’d sneak down the squeaky wooden stairs and into the dark, cave-like basement, full of its electronics equipment and power tools. Grandad, in addition to being an amateur radio operator, was well-regarded as an electronics “whiz”. He took pride in being able to repair just about anything that had wires, transistors, or glass vacuum tubes in it—and every nook and cranny in the basement reflected it. Every square inch, including the overhead rafters, was crammed full of saved parts and pieces from disassembled appliances or communications equipment. Even though his work kept him away from home for long periods of time, his well-organized workbench always smelled pleasantly of melted solder, shoe polish, and his lingering aftershave. Sometimes I’d just sit on the tall stool at his workbench and spin round and round, dizzily watching the basement rush by in a blur.
Since both my grandparents had experienced the difficult and “lean” times of the Great Depression and World War II, neither one threw much of anything away. They saved just about everything, for they had learned that to throw something away was only to have need of it later. And if the basement of the house was a collection of goods for posterity’s sake, the remainder of the house was much the same. It was replete with dusty stacks of papers, books, magazines, and every manner of box and container. Most of the rooms were stacked, floor to ceiling, with such treasures—all of them just waiting to be rediscovered by a snoopy youngster. Closets, drawers, and creaky-hinged trunks were adventures in the making and, thanks to a rather active imagination, I had a grand time exploring undersea caves, jungles, and centuries-buried tombs.
But in addition to all my imagined adventures, there was another, even more important thing that I’ll never forget about Grandma’s house. It was a truly special place that was filled with love. I always knew that, no matter what I had done or what might have happened since my last visit, at Grandma’s I was always forgiven and loved—completely and unconditionally. I always knew that I was free to be, fully and unabashedly, me.
Now, many decades later, I know that in life—just like at Grandma’s house, we are always forgiven and loved by Our Creator. And there’s no need to go anywhere or search afar to find our Home or connection with this Source either. One only needs to look about with a sense of awareness, spiritual connection, and gratitude to realize that “Heaven” isn’t somewhere else. It’s already here. We simply need to open our minds and hearts to discover that it’s hidden deep within ourselves—right where it’s always been!
With Very Much Love,
Please feel free to redistribute, repost, or otherwise share this post, providing it is credited to https://rememberinginfinity.wordpress.com.