Good-bye to 508

Grandpa and Grandma’s house was my favorite place in the world growing up. Everything was quiet, predictable, and safe there. Tom and Dorothy Lowder, my mom’s parents, were the best grandparents in the world. I watched TV, read books, and did puzzles with Grandma; I played outside while Grandpa worked in his yard.

Grandma was a great cook and would make us whatever we wanted for a snack. She would let me have homemade French fries and Twix bars if I wanted. She would literally sit down and start peeling potatoes if you said you wanted French fries after school. She kept a cabinet completely stocked with Campbell’s soup, because she knew I loved it. Grandpa always teased me that I was going to turn into a can of soup since I ate it every day. J

Grandpa had one of the most beautiful yards I’ve ever seen. There was a huge bed of azaleas that we always posed for pictures in front of. The yard was full of huge trees. Once upon a time, there were two little crepe myrtles that my younger brother Chase and I chose for our own. Chase named his Rudolph because it looked like a reindeer. Mine was The House, because you could sit in it like it was a playhouse.

Grandpa was very proud of his lawn. Heaven forbid you drove over any part of the grass. I was so worried about messing up Grandpa’s lawn that I didn’t hazard parking in his driveway until I was well into my 20s.

I remember getting stuck in a tree in the backyard. I remember Grandpa successfully convincing us not to climb the huge antenna in the backyard by saying we would “get fried like bacon if Grandma [was] watching her TV.” Grandma was always watching her TV.

I remember sobbing my eyes out next to the bed in the back bedroom the night of the New Kids on the Block concert in Shreveport. I didn’t have tickets. I didn’t discover the band until after they were sold out. That space next to the bed was my favorite place to hide when I was upset.

I remember sitting on the windowseat behind the curtain and reading books. I was drenched in sunshine, yet hidden from the world. I remember sitting in the middle room reading to my brother while he played Nintendo. And fighting him for the TV when I wanted to watch my New Kids videos back there.

I got my first period there. (I know, TMI.) I’m pretty sure there were members of the family conceived in that house. I spent innumerable Christmases, Easters, New Years, Super Bowls, and Fourth of Julys there. Grandpa was a charming host who loved having family around him.

508 sheltered our family for forty years. We celebrated and mourned there. We watched three generations of grands and great-grands play there. (I say three, since the great-grands are so spread apart in age.) That house was truly my childhood home and the seat of our family. So many memories. So many good times. So many sad ones. Now, I hope another family will fill it with noise and laughter and happiness again.

The youngest ones did not really get to know Grandpa and Tiny (my stepgrandmother) and they never met Grandma. Now that all three of them are gone, the house has been sold. By chance, the closing was delayed, so I was able to go back one last time. I had made my peace with not seeing it again. But I’m very glad I got the chance.

The rooms were empty, but you could still see the marks in the carpet from the furniture sitting there so long. Cailyn, Max, and Thomas went with us. They chased each other through the rooms, laughing and squealing. They hid behind the curtains and tangled up in them. For the grand finale, Thomas pooped his pants. It was time to go. We stood by the garage door and listened to it squeak and slam one last time. Everyone always used the garage door. It was a fitting farewell for the house that had pretty much been another member of the Lowder family for so long.

I haven’t spent much time there in recent years. I live far away and it has been difficult to travel since Lucy got sick. Grandpa has been gone almost two years. He wasn’t himself for many years before he passed. The parties stopped a long time ago. In a way, I guess I gradually let go of the house over the last decade. I will cherish my memories. I am so glad I got to make a few more, watching my son, my niece, and my nephew run and play in my childhood home.

Good-bye, 508. I can’t believe you’re not ours anymore. Thank you for everything. I hope your new owners take really good care of you.

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Me doing a show in front of the fireplace.

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Max, Cailyn, and Thomas in front of the same fireplace.

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Chris, Max, and me in the eating area of the kitchen.

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The kids in the big picture window in the master bedroom.

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Chase and I in the same window.

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Chase shutting the door for the last time. I think my brother looks very handsome in this photo. 🙂

 

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1 Comment

  1. Debi Shaw said,

    June 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    It’s wonderful to have and keep these memories in your heart… I go back to my memories and happy place more than I realize.


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