52 Years

My grandma had a doctor’s appointment the other day. They asked her if her address and phone number were still the same. She said they haven’t changed in 52 years, but they will soon and joked “we’re moving to Arizona because it’s just not hot enough for us here.” (Like everyone else, we’re in the middle of a nasty heat wave.)

My grandparents have been going to Arizona for the “winter” for a long, long time. I know they started going before my cousin was born and he’ll be 17 soon. I put winter in quotes because by the time my sisters and I started graduating from high school they were complaining about having to be back in Iowa by June to attend graduation ceremonies.

They decided this would be the last year they come back. They’re emptying out the house they’ve lived in for 52 years and selling it. Yesterday I went with my mom to visit. It was weird – the upstairs was almost empty, the downstairs full of boxes – but it was still Grandma and Grandpa’s house and it was hard to fathom that was probably the last time I’d see it. I can’t imagine how it is for my mom and aunt. They’re relieved, I know, to have the house emptied and sold, since Grandma and Grandpa were barely living there anyway and it was getting neglected, but it must still be hard to have the house you grew up in sold. I was going to say this is the only house they can remember their parents ever living in, but I guess that’s not true since they’ve had a house in Arizona for years and that house has slowly become where they live. Still, the house in Iowa has always been there. I suppose my aunt might be relieved, because her family has always been the ones to maintain it – checking the pipes, raking the leaves, and shoveling the snow.

I took a few of the dishes I remember always using there and Grandma had everyone pick out one of her P. Buckley Moss prints. My mom has a ton of their stuff at her house now, including the play kitchen my great-great grandpa built for my grandma when she was little. She played with it, then my mom and aunt and uncle, then my sisters and me, now Meg. I suppose this way I’ll see more of the items that bring back memories than if they were keeping the house.

When we bought our house 2 ½ years ago, one of my criteria was that we’d never have to move again (unless we leave Iowa). We intend to raise our kids in this house and grow old together. I assume we’ll still live here in 50 years. I wonder what it will look like then.