I used to have a legitimate pants wetting problem when I was a little a girl. It was a secret that I never told anyone about. I could hide it because it would only ever be a little bit and it would only ever happen around a certain group of girls. When I got together with my cousins at my grandmother's house, I would always end up laughing so hard that I peed my pants. ALWAYS.
I'm back in New Jersey this week, helping my mom clean out my Grandmother's house and while the last time I was here I felt like I couldn't stop crying, this time, while I might not be peeing my pants laughing, I can't stop thinking about all of those funny times.
When all of this is almost over, the last things to go will be the furniture. I'm taking my grandmother's kitchen table to Brooklyn with me- a beautiful round Formica "wood" table top with a funky metal tulip bottom and absolutely dreamy yellow leather chairs that spin (how many times were we scolded for spinning ourselves around on them until we were so dizzy that as soon as we stood up, we'd fall to the hard kitchen floor?) I feel like this is the most important piece of furniture that I could inherit from Mama (the bonus factor is how super cool and 1970s it is) because that kitchen table had a life just as rich as my grandmother's.
I never felt comfortable sitting at Mama's dining room table, the "kids table" was where I belonged, where we could all squeeze around it and laugh as loud as we wanted an entire room away from the grown ups, tucked into that little nook in the kitchen. That kitchen table held our food but when I look at it now, I can smell the kielbasi, kapusta and ham, but see that what it really always held was our memories.
My mom and I are cleaning out the "middle room" this week. This room was once called the green room (because of the paint on the walls) and was where we would play. It once held barbie dolls, baby dolls and coloring books but now it holds pictures. Thousands of pictures, most likely close to 100 photo albums that we need to pack away.
|Us, "sleeping" in the Green Room|
I'm finding pictures with people around that kitchen table, snapshots capturing memories one meal, or craft activity at a time. And I can't help but think that if I could lift up that table cloth that always covered it, I'd find an open book of happy memories written between the patterns of wood, stuck in the grains telling the life story of our family.