I was thinking about my family recently. Growing up, I recall that my mother’s family got together a lot. When I was very young, we all met up at my Grandmother’s House in Brighton, Massachusetts. She had a three-story home, that at one time or another had housed Grandma and Papa Fred; her parents; her sister, Tilly, and Tilly’s son, George; Papa Fred’s sister, Hedwig and her husband Abert; my Mom and Dad; and my Uncle Bob and his wife Cynthia and their two children Carl and Erica.
Now, these people all passed through the house at one time or another, never all at once, but somehow, Murdock Street was the home base for many years.
Family always gathered at Grandma’s house to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. It was always so much fun. Good food, a lot of laughs, and a lot of hugs. My memories of those long-ago days are still very strong. I recall each family member, be they my Mom’s brother and his family, or all of Papa Fred’s family, as he had many brothers and sisters.
Papa had a heart attack when I was about 10 years old and Grandma and Papa moved closer to us in Falmouth, on Cape Cod. They moved three streets away from us, and I remember running through the woods to their house. The door was always open and they were always happy to see me.
Grandma Honey & Papa Fred
The family parties continued, although I admit, they’d gotten smaller because slowly, the family was dying off. Papa was the youngest in his family and I recall his brothers and sisters passing early on. All except the eldest in the family, Hedwig, and she lived to be very, very, old.
In any case, after a few years, Grandma and Papa needed more help and so they bought a house with my Mom and Dad. It was a beautiful big home. Which meant, the family parties continued.
It was great because All the cousins were getting married and having children, and suddenly the parties were filled with babies, toddlers, and children! There was a small lake down the road and in the summer, during the cookouts, this meant swimming times too!
When parties were planned, everyone came. They came to see Grandma. She really loved family and would plan everything and call everyone. Mom would do most of the cooking, with Uncle Betty by her side, and Uncle George and my Dad were great at flipping burgers and hotdogs.
I can still taste my Mom’s potato salad! And why is it that the watermelon tasted so much better when we were all sitting on the fence spitting seeds?
I miss those days. I miss all those people. I miss the family gatherings when we all were together. They do not happen anymore. My sister Melodie and one cousin, Janet, and I get together twice a year. But gone are the days of those big family gatherings.
Right now I am trying to establish a time each summer when I share beach time with my grandchildren. I want them to have the Cape Cod experience. I want them to know salty air, sunsets into the ocean, and cookouts that last forever. I want them to spit watermelon seeds while they’re sitting on a fence and Dairy Queen runs on a hot summer night!
So many wonderful memories of my own childhood.