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Grandma's Attic

Updated on July 27, 2012

On a winter night in 1970 my family awoke to the smell of smoke and fire in the living room of our home. I was only seven years old so I was pretty scared when Mom came and scooped me up from my bed and ran outside. We lived in Massachusetts at the time so, needless to say, it was very cold out. I remember going across the street to my best friend's house while the firetrucks came. We learned later that the cause of the fire was a faulty furnace. Everybody was okay and the house didn't burn down, but it burnt just enough to make the house uninhabitable.

After packing up all of our stuff and putting some things in storage, we moved to my Grandfather's house in another town. He lived in a three story duplex with plenty of room for me, my older sister, Mom & my step-father. When you first entered the house there was a hall way that led back to the kitchen. The living room and dining room were on the left of the hall way and the stairs leading up were to the right. I remember running through the house, down the hall, through the kitchen and on through the other downstairs rooms. Around and around we would go, running until we were out of breath and we would flop down into the closest comfy chair. Grampy didn't care that we ran through the house as long as we didn't break anything. Of course, when we moved in and Mom brought rules with her, we weren't allowed to run in the house anymore. That was okay though, we made up for it outside, up and down the sidewalks in the neighborhood.

The second story of Grampy's house consisted of a few bedrooms and a couple of bathrooms. The staircase going up to the second floor was pretty average I suppose, with a carved handrail and pictures hanging to the side. In the bathroom was a huge claw foot tub that seemed to be the size of a swimming pool. When I was older and saw a claw foot tub for the first time since I was a child, I realized that the tub wasn't so big after all, I was just little bitty!

While the lower staircase was pretty average, the upper staircase going up to the attic was a different apple altogether. To a seven year old girl, it was down right scary! To access the stairway, you had to open a creaky door at the bottom of the stairs. Inside the door was a light switch to the one lone bulb that lit the way up to the attic. The staircase itself was narrow and dark and enclosed on both sides by the walls to other rooms. There was just the one bulb to light the way and we always had to close the door, that was Grampy's rule. At the top of the stairs was a switch to the main light in the attic, but even that was just a single bulb. Climbing the stairs to the attic was pure torture for my sister and I. She always went up first though because she was the big sister.

We hated those stairs to the attic, but we climbed them several times every day. "Why?" you ask? Because of the treasures that awaited us in the attic. Treasures left there by our Nana, who had passed away a few years earlier. There were trunks, boxes and suitcases stuffed with Nana's old clothes. There was jewelry and shoes and hats. Everything she had from her teenage years and through her 20s and 30s was there in that attic for two little girls to play dress up with. We would play for hours, imagining we were Nana as a teenager, trying to act 'sophisticated' or pretending to have a crush on a boy. We would dress up in fancy dresses and high heels and play school. Sometimes Mom would make sandwiches or cupcakes and we would have a party, all the while dressed up in Nana's beautiful clothing.

Those were special times back then. The world was nicer and more simple, but then, isn't it always that way for a child? Nana and Grampy are both gone now, so is Mom. My sister lives clear across the country and I haven't seen her since 1997, but was do keep in touch. This story is one of my fondest memories of growing up and still brings a few tears even after decades have passed. I hope Nana's hanging on to some of those dresses so I can borrow one someday!

Nana with me and my sister
Nana with me and my sister
Nana and Grampy anniversary taken in the early to mid 1960s
Nana and Grampy anniversary taken in the early to mid 1960s


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    • lindalou1963 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for your wonderful comment!

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      Lovely story. Attics are really fun when you're a child. At the same time, when you grow older and your loved one has passed on, the most meaningless things they leave behind become so emotionally bounded to you. There must be millions of stories behind attics. Thank you for sharing this one:)

    • lindalou1963 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed my story! And you are welcome for the memories!

    • Cogerson profile image


      6 years ago from Virginia

      You have done an outstanding job of painting a picture in my mind with your words. I could easily picture the house and the actually sounds a lot like my grandmother's attic. My treasures were old model planes and a toy box that was filled with lots of cool stuff to play favorite was the wooden sword that was shaped like Zorro's sword....thanks for bringing back some nice memories....voted up and awesome.

    • lindalou1963 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you ! And .... You're welcome!

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 

      6 years ago from Western Australia

      Congratulation on your nomination, well deserved:) Your bittersweet story reminded me of my own time spent with my grandma, thank you for bringing back my memories through your beautiful writing:)

    • lindalou1963 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you so much! I love knowing my writing has inspired people. Thank you for sharing it with others!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      6 years ago from New York, New York

      Congrats on the HubNugget. This was a beautiful story and very much enjoyed. I loved reading about you dressing up in your Nana's clothes with your sister. I thought of my own Nana and all the wonderful memories I too have of her growing up. Your story really did speak to me. Have voted and shared too!!

    • lindalou1963 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      I KNOW we did!! Thanks for stopping by to read!

    • 34th Bomb Group profile image

      34th Bomb Group 

      6 years ago from Western New York State

      Lovely story!

      You were so descriptive I began to compare your attic to MY Grandmother's!

      I think all of us who were lucky enough to have a Grandma's Attic had a lot more fun than the other kids!

    • lindalou1963 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Travel_man! My hub actually won in its category and I'm really pleased with that. Thank you for taking the time to read!!

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Such a sweet photo! Congrats on your nomination ( a runner-up on The Home category) . Well, your daughter is also commending you.

      BTW, Vickie, you can follow the footsteps of your mom on HubPages. :)

    • profile image

      vickie coston 

      6 years ago

      hey everyone my mom wrote this isn't she a awesome writer.

    • lindalou1963 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      THANK YOU !! Thank you!! so very much!!! This is awesome!!!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      There is something about the treasures of the past that warms the heart and it is wonderful to have these in your hands. What a gift!

      Here's another gift..your hub has been nominated on the Hubpages, lindalou. Yay..check it out Love and blessings and more of happy treasures in our attics!

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      What is it about old houses and kids? I remember some of my grandmother's old homes as a child; my cousins and I used to spend the night and make up all kinds of creepy stories to scare each other. The creaking floorboards and the odd nooks and crannies in the house lent itself to spooky stories.

      Thanks for sharing your own memories!

    • lindalou1963 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      The grandparents I write about in this story were also from Canada, Nova Scotia. The came to the states as teenagers, met and married in Massachusetts.

    • lindalou1963 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you all so much for your kind words! This is my first story and everyone is being so positive about the one thing I was concerned about.. detail. I was afraid I didn't include enough. I'm glad to know I'm not too rusty!

      Thanks again

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      What wonderful memories. So glad you have them and you did an excellent job describing living with your Grandpa. Everyone should have a trunk of their Nana's things. :) Sharing.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 

      6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      This is beautiful! It's so good that you remember those days and have such good memories of your grandmother and grandfather.

      My sister and I used to play dress-up with my grandmother's clothes when we were little and lived in Calgary, Alberta. I think they were her good, everyday clothes. Dresses, necklaces, hats, heels -- but it's the feelings that come through, isn't it? It's the feeling of love.

      It's funny, too, how you called your grandfather, Grampy. Our youngest granddaughter can say 'Grandpa' very well, but she chooses to call her grandpa, "Grampy".

      I enjoyed this so much and I really love your last sentence.

      Welcome to Hubpages. Voting up, awesome, interesting and Sharing.

    • lindalou1963 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you so much! You're my first comment on my first story!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This was very discriptive and interesting. I could picture the house, as if I wre walking through the house myself. I enjoyed the story and the way it flows.


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