My adopted Mom's parents had once lived in luxury, but when I became a part of the family, income was limited. Grandpa was tall, slightly stooped with a bad back. He had the thickest, whitest hair I have ever seen. He was ornery and liked to tease me, and yet, he would sit for hours and let me comb and pin curl his hair. He had a few pigs and chickens on his small acreage that he let me help feed when I was there. I was a city girl so that was very cool. I remember asking him once about the curl in their tails. He said, "I pin curl them every night!" Only the twinkle in his eye tipped me that he was teasing.
Grandpa had a limp, used a cane, and often had a small bottle of whiskey in his pocket. He assured the family it was strictly medicinal. I don't remember much about my grandmother. She was always sick, and she died when I wasn't too old. I do remember she had beautiful dishes, and a storeroom in the attic full of wonderful old things. My cousins and I spent many hours going through old clothes, old letters, and things I no longer remember.
It was a magical place for me. While our parents were busy talking, we were upstairs playing, and finding endless treasures packed away. Every piece of furniture was still beautiful, and would have delighted any antique dealer. Once in a while if we stayed over night, I slept in a white metal framed bed. The spokes were molded together in such a way, that parts of it looked like small skulls. Grandpa had a huge old phonograph with a horn that played old 78 records.
The stairs up were the scariest part. They were long, narrow and steep. I was always afraid I would fall down them. Once at the top we had our choice of several bedrooms, and the storage room to play in. We dressed up in Victorian era dresses, large hats with feathers, long white gloves, and high top button shoes. We found the shoe hook, but none of us were very good at using it. We cousins had fun anyway. I wonder if they remember?
The house had a screened wrap around porch we played on, and there was a cellar door we could slid down. The cellar still had canned goods in it that friends and neighbor's and family supplied them with. It was a small, dark, damp smelling place, but we cousins did like to explore. When Grampa died, I was in high school. Those last days of cleaning out all those treasures was a sad time I got some of the funiture, and my grandparents wedding certificate, and a wonderful rocking chair. The chair belonged to my great grandfather, who hand crafted it, and brought it with him when he immigrated from Sweden.