The House that Harriette and Paw-Paw Built.

I graduated from Auburn this past August.  Therefore, it wasn’t too terribly long ago that I was an over-worked and stressed-out design student.  So many can easily blow off the stress factor of an interior design major.  I mean, how hard can it be, right?!  Let me just tell you that I think it took years off my life!  So many tears and late nights!  But I’ll speak more about that in another post! My Sophomore year, we were asked to complete an assignment on the psychological aspects of design, your home, and your childhood.  The assignment asked us to write a paper on a place/home of our childhood that evoked emotion and explore that emotion.  And low and behold…my place of choice was my grandmother’s (that’s right…Harriette’s!) beach home! SO…I thought that I would share what I wrote about the house that my grandfather and Harriette built! As you read…think about that place as a child that was your sanctuary.

    “Since moving to Auburn I have been presented with a new, more insightful look on my childhood and past.  It was a time of carefree energy and unbound creativity.  However, it is only now that I realize how easily that time was taken for granted.  I have grown up far too fast and have quickly stumbled into the reality of adulthood.  Now looking back, I am only left with the comforting and joyous memories of times and places gone by.  It is my grandparent’s beach, or more correctly stated, lagoon home that proved to be a prominent and reassuring place of my childhood and memory.

     I unfortunately was never able to personally know my grandfather.  He passed away two years before I was born.  It is from stories that I came to know him as a dreaming, loving, and adventurous individual.  He was a man that used his hands and with this know-how, he passionately constructed the lagoon home.  The pride he had in this building was great, I was told.  It was a pride that extended to my greatly populated family.  The meaning of this space became deeper than the structure. 

     However much I lacked in not having a grandfather, my grandmother’s tender spirit made up for.  She was and is the rock of my family and life.  Her lagoon home provided for her a sense of pleasure, and after my grandfather’s death, a sense of comfort.  Therefore, the home became the destination of my family at every opportunity. 

     Lazy Living, as it was named by my grandfather, was a place of no worries.  It was nothing fancy, just a simple design with a close-knit family in mind.  Looking back, it was rustic and rugged in function.  However, it was eclectic and warm in aesthetics.  The house consisted of one large open space with one bedroom and two bathrooms.  The open floorplan engulfed you as soon as you opened the door.  Louver windows surrounded the entire house, bringing in the brightness and sounds that still stay with me.  The kitchen was spacious and charming and was placed in the back right of the house. Beds ranging in size lined one of the main walls and another occupied the opposing wall.  After passing the arrangement of beds, you reached the front of the house that held the sofas, T.V., and the last bed of the open space.  The lone bedroom was strictly my grandmother’s, which I remember as a warm, dark, and cozy space.  The house was a space focused on comfort rather than aesthetics.  It was a place of reassurance for me as a child. 

     More than the simple details of the house, I remember the moments and feelings it evoked.  I still remember the salt water and almost musty smell it held.  The sounds of the passing vacationers in their mini-vans, chirping crickets, and wind sweeping through the trees still remain with me.  My childhood is filled with memories and moments from this house.  It was on the street in front of the lagoon home that I learned to ride a bike.  It was there that I was allowed to explore and venture on my own.  I remember it as a place to daydream, particularly while swinging on the swing mounted under the back porch.  My worries faded with the setting.  I seemed to possess the same pride in the space that my grandfather had.  I remember inviting a friend once and telling her that she could not touch that, it was mine.  Although it probably stemmed from simple childhood misbehavior, I saw it as the house that was rightfully mine.

     Although the time that was spent at the house was special and influenced my life, it is the connection it gave me to my grandfather that impacted me the most.  I saw the house as his creation.  The moment I stepped in the front door it was as if I was stepping into his arms.  The house embodied all that I pictured him as, warm, open, and loving.  The space, for me, had a soul.  I was never able to meet my grandfather in this life.  However, it was through this house that I got to know him and experience the things that made him smile.  I suppose this is why I was so possessive of the house; to me it was my grandfather. 

     Although my grandmother sold the house several years ago, the memories and feelings have never and will never leave me.  We still go to the same beach every year as a family and stay in very nice condos.  However, it will never quite be the same.  The rentals evoke no feelings for me and provide no comfort and warmth like that of the lagoon house of my childhood.  The house even though now under new ownership, remains mine in my heart.  I still have my memories and the image of my grandfather it gave me.” 

That’s Paw-Paw AND HARRIETTE (Gran-Gran)!! Oh and pssst…I got an A on this assignment! Hooray!

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2 Responses to The House that Harriette and Paw-Paw Built.

  1. Terry Fleming says:

    Damn you I cried again!

  2. Kathy says:

    Love it! Love you! (tear…tear….) You have such a special heart and what a special story!

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