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moving on…but not before taking a minute to remember it all…

 NanaGpaHouse

I took a trip to Nashville last weekend to see my grandparents, who are still in assisted living and learning to come to terms with their new life.  Nana has decided to sell the house, which means they will soon be tossing, donating, and selling their things. 

It's hard to think about.  The house is full of memories for me, starting especially with my move to Nashville for college.  I used to visit frequently, sitting around the kitchen table with Nana, chatting about school, boys, friends…

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Before I left for the airport I went around the house, capturing the places and things I remember so well…the things that say "Nana and Grandpa" to me.

Like this little cozy spot toward the front of the house.  I used to love the light in this room.  Nana and I would sit here for some of my visits, rattling on about this and that.  There's a little candy dish on that chest that I used to pilfer from.

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Around the corner is Grandpa's main perch in the house – his blue recliner.  He was always kicked back, playing crosswords or reading the paper while recording some program on TV that was always blaring.  He liked the idea of visiting, but I usually had to stare at the back of the paper or compete with Tom Brokaw. ;) 

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It's funny.  I never really noticed this picture before now.

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Grandpa spent all the time in the world with Evyn, though.  Teaching her the people/steeple game.  Evyn still talks about that.

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Nana always said that room was too loud.  But we had a lot of fun there…

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This flag is on a shelf in that same room.  Grandpa's kid brother Dick died in the war when they were just teenagers.  A terrible burden Grandpa had to bear his whole life – that his little brother joined the war to be like his big brother.   
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Grandpa's room.  Best described as a collection of collections (I'm just now noticing the assortment of travel clocks), my favorite being these photographs of everyone he loved most.

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That's Grandpa in uniform on the far right.

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And my little sister Lora as a baby.

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Hey, look what I found. 

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Who take a picture of a bathroom?  Me.  Shortly after my husband and I married, he deployed.  I came back to Nashville to live with Nana and Grandpa for a few months to pass the time and hang out with the friends I'd just moved away from two short months earlier.  I used to get ready here each night, readying to visit someone at their new condo, or some new wine bar that had opened up in town.  Nana would lean on the wall and visit with me, admiring what I'd picked to wear or noticing some new earrings I'd bought.  I loved that part of the evening.

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Nana's room.  She liked to read the paper here. We'd sprawl out on her bed and rifle through the ads, picking our favorite things and talking about sales or gossiping some more.  She'd bring out her Clinique samples and freebie cosmetic bags and share them with me.

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In fact, she did that with Evyn on a trip we took last summer:

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That phone on her nightstand, next to a calendar and pad of paper she used to organize her life.  I was always a bit fascinated by it, such a perfect shade of aqua.

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She had her own collection of frames and baubles.  This is a favorite picture of mine. Lora is on the right, I'm on the left, undecided about "which monkey" I am (eyes, mouth, wha?).

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Above the garage, Grandpa has a junk room.  It's a bit like rings on a tree to go in there, castoff furniture and piles of suitcases and books.  Lora and I used to play in there when we were younger.  I'm not sure what will happen to this chalkboard on the wall.  So I had to take a picture of it…

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And, finally, this organ.  Nana wanted me to have it but unfortunately there just isn't room in our house.  Lora and I played here every time we visited as kids.

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The house is quiet now.  Still, and dusty.  I was a little sad to pack up my camera and leave.  But I'm grateful.  That Nana and Grandpa are very much alive and doing well, considering.  I have new memories.  Gathering with them around the same wobbly table in the dining hall at their new place.

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Walking them back to their separate rooms, just across the hall from each other, ironically even closer than at their house. 

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 Nana didn't flinch when I took her picture this time.  Even they are getting used to my antics.

I would have taken a picture in grandpa's room, but a picture of the back of the newspaper isn't that enthralling.  Some things don't change much. 😉

Like his patriotism.

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Kathi - What a beautiful tribute to some lovely memories. I wish I had done something similar before my parents were gone.

bakeandsewblog - What a beautiful post. So nice to capture memories.

brianna - Really beautiful…

Keri - Crystal, this is really beautiful and touching. I especially like the pic of your grandpa and Lora and then almost the same one of Evyn and your grandpa (“found your nose”). You’ve really captured such great memories.

lindsey - so very sweet.

Amanda - This is one of my favorites of all your posts. It makes me homesick in so many ways.

Cara - This is a wonderful idea. My grandparents moved out of their home rather abruptly while I was in college. I don’t think I would have thought to take photos then anyway. But, reading this I realized I could recount their home room by room, fixture by fixture. The bathroom? Entirely pink – tiles, sink, toilet, fuzzy toilet seat cover and all.

Leslie - What a wonderful and precious post. If only I had thought of that with my grandparents and parents. All I have are the pictures in my mind.

Rachel - Wow beautiful post! What a wonderful idea. I had a very close relationship with my grandparents, they passes away w/in 6 weeks of each other about 4 years ago. This really made me think of them, I wished we had taken pictures of their house, I can still picture how they had a lot of things all the time. Thank you for this!

Amber - This is such a beautiful post – and reminds me so much of my grandparent’s house! Off to write them a letter…

Leesa Dick - You have made me cry looking at this post. I only wish I had taken photos of my grandparents house. We still have the house but it has been totally renovated now, and once I am inside it doesn’t feel the same (it does on the outside though). What beautiful memories you will have now for you and your children in years to come. Thank you for sharing :0)

Dayna - Oh, Crystal! I’m fighting back tears. What are you going to do with that chalkboard that still has Lora’s writing on it?? Such a priceless treasure!
My Grandpap, 95, is recovering in a nursing home after having a tumor removed from his spine over Christmas. It’s supposed to be temporary, but the chain reaction is keeping him there longer. I’m trying to come to terms with it, but being across the world makes it harder.
What a wonderful granddaughter you are! Keep snapping those photos! I’d love to see one of the back of the newspaper, by the way. 😉

margot - What amazing memories and images.
You make me feel like I should have gone around and taken more pictures of my Gran’s house before we started moving everything to make room for her to be cared for at home. What was there when she died was only a shell of my memories and since her death, as my mother says, the “looting has begun.” I think you should make this post into one of those photobooks or something :).

Kimberly - Crystal – This is beautiful! You will treasure this forever and so will your girls! My grandmother is 89, still at home and I can’t wait to get back to TN to visit with her and do just this – catch the memories. Thank you for this tribute!

Amber - This is so sweet. Thanks for sharing your memories. I started to get teary eyed just seeing all of your photos that capture your grandparents. My grandparents had an organ at their house and I played it every time I visited too.

Marte - Thank you so much for sharing your memories, it’s touching to read it. Brings out a lot of memories with my own grandparents! :)

Gina - wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

Helena - I love this post. Its so perfect, and capturing those spaces is important. I’ve lost my grandparents’ homes. They moved long before I ever got a camera and I miss those quiet spaces, the corners, the memories.

Chris - So beautiful.

Christine - Such a sweet reminder of how important all these moments are :) You captured it all soo beautifully.

KathiD - Oh my. I am a new visitor lured here by one of my favorite blogs http://addingfocus.blogspot.com/) and you have taken my breath away. Thank you.

wendy - God Bless your grandparents! My Pap-Pap is 91, and still reminisices about his time overseas (with editing, I’m sure). I wish my Grandma was still here to share it with him.

Abby - Beautiful! Plain and simple. What wonder memories you have. Cherish them forever….