A couple of weeks ago, I visited my grandparents’ house. Mom’s side. I say house because my grandparents weren’t there. This year will mark the 20th anniversary of my grandfather’s death, and my grandmother lives in a nursing home. Dementia stole her mind several years ago.
The house has been vacant for many years and my parents have been cleaning out, getting ready for the inevitable: the sale of the house. I was there to move some furniture out, and it occurred to me this might be the last time I visit the place. I meant to write a message on a rafter in the attic: Greg Was Here. But I forgot.
Not too long ago, I set foot for the last time in my paternal grandparents’ old house, too. It was sold to non family members recently.
I have many fond childhood memories of these houses and the interactions with my extended families there. Unfortunately, my children never experienced much of those parts of the family tree. A couple of years ago, I wrote a story for my son based on some of the characters there, just to give him a taste of some of my childhood memories. The story is called “Butterbean”.
I had the idea one day when my father and I visited the DMV and courthouse in that county to straighten out something with my grandmother’s car title. We walked up to the window in the courthouse, and the lady behind the glass said “Butterbean, is that you?”
My Dad’s nickname as a kid (and apparently for life in his hometown) was Butterbean. There we were over 40 years since he left town, and someone still called him Butterbean. That made me laugh, so I wrote the story about a little boy (my son) and his grandfather visiting the grandfather’s home town.
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