Feel At Home

Granddad's aftershave


I realized something the other day. Something that makes me a bit sad.

I’ve forgotten a lot of things about my grandfathers.

One of them died when I was three, the other when I was six. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been with them. I miss them still.

I don’t remember what their aftershave smelled like. What their voices sounded like.

A few years ago I learned from my uncle Phil that my Grandpa Riggs couldn’t sing. I’d always imagined he could. Funny how memory can do that kind of trick.

When I wrote about Granddad’s relationship with Evelyn in My Mother’s Chamomile, I wished that I could have had more time with my grandfathers. So, I wrote what I imagined a relationship between grandpa and granddaughter could be.

You know, it felt a whole lot like home.

That’s what I remember about my Grandpa Relf. When I sat with him, watching football, that was home. When he’d let me try on his glasses or hearing aid, that was home.

It’s what I remember about my Grandpa Riggs. When he’d tease me and tell me jokes, I felt at home. When he’d smile, making the corners of his blue eyes crinkle, I felt at home.

When I want to remember what home meant during my childhood, I let my memory take me back to my grandpas.


Your turn. What makes you feel at home? What do you remember of those who have defined home for you? If they have passed away, and you’re comfortable sharing, I’d love for this to be a day of memory and honoring. 

9 Comments on “Feel At Home

  1. I haven’t finished MMC yet but what’s touching me is Olga. My Grammy and I have always had a very special relationship. She’s at the beginning stages of altzeimer’s now and as she very slowly slips away I am being blessed by feeling like Olga is my Grammy.


    • Jessie, Alzheimer’s is such a difficult and painful illness. My Grandpa Riggs had it.

      I’m glad you feel blessed by Olga’s character. I love her. She’s based on my Great Aunts. I miss them. I’m glad I got to capture even a small bit of their personalities in her.


  2. 5 1/2 years ago, after learning that my Grandma had passed away, my then 6-year-old daughter crawled up in my lap, stroked my hair, and said to me in a very sad voice, “You don’t have any Grandmas or Grandpas left now, do you Mom?”.
    The truth in her question still breaks my heart.

    An Archway cookie after every breakfast and collecting pine cones in the yard, days at Higgins Lake and evenings at the deer rescue feeding the orphans – some of the best childhood memories with Grams & Gramps.


  3. After your Grandpa Riggs taught your dad and me “The Twin Song”, he got someone to play the accompaniment on the piano, so we had to learn it all over again, because he was tone-deaf. He also smelled of Mennen Afta, which had nothing to do with it.


    • That is a great story! I always assumed he could sing until Uncle Phil told me otherwise. We must have gotten our musical abilities from Grandma.

      I’ll have to try and find Mennen Afta to see if it jogs my memory.


  4. You know, the people who are responsible for us being here are often forgotten. When you consider their lives, good times and bad and how we are a bit of who they were, its awesome!
    God Bless you for keeping their memories alive.


  5. Lovely. Thanks for re-sharing this today. Here are my grandparent stories:

    Things I miss about my Grandpa Fausett: His contagious, extremely rare laughter. His smooth, blond hair that never turned gray or silver, even though he was 79 when he died. His euchre tips (always call “next,” tossing a farmer’s hand is cheating, and a handful of Aces is a good trumping hand), his chumminess with my aunts and uncles, his meticulous lawn- and garden-care, his ability to grill just about any type of meat to perfection.

    Things I miss about my Great-Grandmas: The way their houses smelled, their quirky stuck-in-the-late-60s decor, their yummy meals, their long, long-term memories for bygone family lore. Even their curly perms.

    Things I miss about my paternal grandparents who I never met, Grandma Donna and Grandpa John: Being able to know their personalities so I would be able to understand a better picture of what shaped my dad. I hear my Grandma Donna loved to chew the fat and tell stories, she was an excellent baker, she was extremely close with her sisters, Pat and Mary, and they loved to sit at her kitchen table over coffee and while away an afternoon. I hear my Grandpa John was a strict disciplinarian with high standards, and he wasn’t very warm. But his love of excellence reverberates through succeeding generations.


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