The 7th of July will be remembered by many as the day the world paid tribute to Michael Jackson. I did of course watch the event but I have already said all I have to say about the subject in this post. The memorial marked the end of an era its true, but July 7th was a watershed day for my family for a whole different reason and that’s what I want to talk about. It was moving day. Nooo not for me… for my grandparents which is altogether more significant seen as on average I have moved about once every 2 years for my whole life and spent time in several different countries whereas granny and granddad they have lived in this same house for over 30 years!!
It’s almost impossible for me to wrap my head around that concept: the idea of being so settled and happy in a place that you have no desire to move. The fact that they have lived in that same house since my aunt (who had her silver wedding anniversary a few days ago) was in school. I’ve often wondered what it must feel like to belong somewhere in the way they belonged to the town they lived in… to know a place like the back of your hand and to be there long enough to see it evolve and change around you as your life progresses. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to leave that home.
The house itself was a three story place overlooking the River Tay in Dundee, Scotland. It had panoramic views which my granddad spent ages gazing at and my mother loved. It’s true to say my grandparents know what they liked and I’m not sure the decor had changed much since I was toddling around the place, riding on the rocking horse or racing around the big red choo choo train that was kept for children’s visits. The driveway was resurfaced once – what a shock! A touchstone in my family’s history. I’m sure all the grand children have their memories of granny’s bed and breakfast days or, in my case, the embarrassment of rushing into the living room only to interrupt two perfect strangers eating marmalade on toast and patiently waiting for their bacon and eggs, baking in the powder blue kitchen, being taken to admire Betty’s garden and proudly shown each flowering plant. Or the smell of granddad’s wood workshop and the wonderfully colorful toys that room produced. The playground across the road where I first learned how to use your legs to move a swing and stopped needing to yell higher… HIGER to the person behind me. Being convinced that my aunt and I have a lot more in common than I ever thought after seeing the deep purple color her teenage self painted the walls of her top floor bedroom. This place has been a constant in all our lives and now that I have no need to return to Dundee and ring that familiar doorbell now. That the first address I learned to repeat verbatim is no longer part of my life, I feel… a little strange.
If I had known that last time I was there was goodbye… strange, Dundee is a town that is very much joked about where I come from, and yet now that I don’t need/have to visit anymore… strange. But most of all, it was always talked about that when my grandparents were old my granny was going to retire to a bungalow. We talked about it since… well, as long as I can remember. Moving this fact from something that’s in the future to present day fact is… strange and a little sad.
It’s funny how fast life changing events can occur. I remember first hearing that the search for the bungalow had begun in February and here we are at beginning of July and it’s all happened. 30 years in one place and all it takes is six months and that part of their life has come to an end. They have shifted across to the west coast of Scotland and started a new chapter. In truth, they did need to move as the house was way too big for them and my granny has had some mobility issues ever since a bad fall 2 years ago. They have moved to be closer to family, as my aunts and cousins have been in Ayrshire my whole life too, so the new stomping ground is well known to them. These past few days I find myself thinking of them a lot, hoping they are setting in. Thinking about the new home… What color is the kitchen? How many flowers are in the garden? Are the vegetables growing well? Thinking I need to go and ring this new doorbell, spend some time with the couple living inside… because really though the address may change I want to make sure we are not done making memories together yet.