Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grandma's Attic

My Grandma Paul's house in St. Paul had the most wonderful attic.  When I was just a little girl, she would let me play there on rainy days.  Any cloud that produced more than three drops of rain would send me running to find Grandma and beg her to let me go play in the attic.  She would smile, take me by the hand and lead me up the stairs.  She had an old, heavy flat iron that she would use to prop open the door so it wouldn't swing shut and trap me inside.

The attic had a dusty, uneven wooden floor and a window in one end for light.  Some thought it was a sort of creepy, scary place, but I loved it.  The attic was filled with treasures that would keep me occupied for hours.  One end of the attic was out of bounds to me, I suppose because the things stored there weren't for little girls to play with and break.  But the end nearest the window was all mine.

There were trunks filled with old clothes, shoes and hats that were perfect for playing dress-up.  There were toys from when my mother and aunts and uncle were children.  Wonderful wooden pull toys and building blocks and real china play dishes and wooden puzzles.  There were stuffed animals and I think I even remember a barnyard set complete with cows and chickens.

The most wonderful things of all for me were the picture books.  I was, at that time, too young to have gone to school yet, and I couldn't read, but I spent hours looking at the books and making up stories to go with the pictures.  It was like being able to go someplace exciting in my mind.  I still feel that way when I read a good book I am transported someplace new, and if the book is an especially well written descriptive one, I can experience the sights and sounds and smells within the pages.  That must have had its beginnings with Grandma's picture books.

It is a shame that houses aren't built with attics any more.  Attics are a wonderful place for a child's imagination to grow.  I wish I had been able to spend time in Grandma's attic when I was old enough to appreciate the family history stored there.  Sadly, Grandma and her wonderful attic were both gone by that time.  I did not descend from a wealthy family, so I rather doubt that any valuable antiques were in the attic.  But I remember seeing boxes of papers and books and pictures that probably would be of great interest to me now as I research my family tree.  Yet, I do have the memories of rainy day play in Grandma's attic, and those memories are priceless to me.

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