Grandma and Grandpa’s Floor!
My Grandma and Grandpa were lovely. Just the most Grandma and Grandpa like people you could ever meet; sweet, kind, fun, caring, cuddly… They loved me, their only Grandchild, very much and I wish so much that they’d got to meet their great grand children too as I know they would have thought the absolute world of them. It’s funny as I see things in shops I know my Grandma would have bought for the little ones and I see the children do things sometimes and get this very clear feeling that my Grandpa would have laughed heartily at them. They were very different to each other my Grandma and Grandpa but they loved each other and when my Grandpa went into hospital once I remember my Grandma saying the hardest part of the day was not being able to say goodnight to him.
They lived in Norwich for their retirement as they followed me and my Mum here to support us after my parents separated but before that they lived in Kent and so many of my early memories are from their house there. Bouncing on my Grandpa’s HUGE tummy like it was a trampoline, drinking pink Champagne (grenadine in lemonade) in their dining room and playing in their garden. But I loved nothing more in that house than their shining solid wood flooring!
In my memory it was this magnificent hallway where you could slip and slide and dance in your socks over the glistening floor. The wood could be breathed in and I remember lying on it on hot days where it was the coolest part of the house. My Mum and I lived in that house with them for four months in between leaving our family home in Wales and buying our new home for just the two of us in Norfolk. I was 5 and turned 6 there and so I have all these wonderful memories of that time which could have been a sad one for me but my Grandma and Grandpa made beautiful!
Things that really stick in my memory are the sound of pigeons cooing outside my little bedroom window, my Grandma getting ready and letting me go through her jewellery box, a little Filofax they kept in a box in the living room, watching Wonder Woman and Wacky races with my Grandpa, my tremendous fall off my bike outside their house catching my hand in the front wheels as it continued to spin… I still have little scars on my right hand from that misdemeanor where my Mum could hear me crying but didn’t come out because I was ALWAYS making a fuss… Ha!
Little white marks on my thumb and the top of my hand are the physical proof that I was once there. A real, touchable and visible map of life – the places my Grandma cleaned with an antibacterial wipe before patching me up with plasters and love.
The rest is just as real but only I can see it. It’s etched in my memory forever more or until I become too old for it to matter anymore and I wonder if anyone else in the family remembers that beautiful flooring like I do. It was my first theatre stage as I performed to myself, sashaying down the stairs to an invisible audience and then took my bows by the front door. I can almost see that floor, touch it, smell it… If I were to poke my tongue out I could taste it and feel the shiny surface on my taste buds as if it was still as real and as physical and as in front of me as the scars on my hand!
I suspect this memory is why I have always loved wooden floors myself. One day I will have one as shining and as perfect as my Grandparent’s because that memory is a good one. I went back to visit the house a few years ago, I took a picture from outside and it seemed smaller and not as grand – I didn’t want to look inside the front door as my Mum knocked on it to say hello to the new owners. That memory is all I need because it’s in my heart therefore it is real!