Space And Place: My Grandfathers’ House Will Always Be Very Important To Me

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How we conquer obstacles defines how we represent ourselves as individuals. However, despite where we go, what we experience and how we view these lessons are up to us. We can let the fact that certain misfortunes manipulate us and let it define us by having a negative outlook on life. In contrast , we can always improve our mind frame in a way that is beneficial to us, if we allow it.

A week before summer was about to start, I contemplated what I’d be doing. What adventures, I would have during the summer. Hopefully, I would go to the beach, set up an outside painting station, beginning a spiritual journey or even finally getting a great tan! One thought in my mind didn’t think I would be spending my luxurious summer moving! My mom suddenly came to me to tell me she thought it would be better if I moved in with my grandpa.

Not, that I was a bad person or caused problems at home. She thought I’d be better off being away from all the commotion at her house. My mother was right, I did work better in a peaceful environment. I just didn’t understand her urgency or why was she mentioning this idea now? I was absolutely furious when she told me I should have everything ready my next week!

The day finally came and after hours of throwing my life in the back of a small pickup truck, me, my dog Tootie and my dear mother began a prolonged hot journey to my “new home”. I felt the breeze brushing through my hair and the sun beaming on my face through my sunglasses. Tootie by my side with his head stuck out of the window attempting to hog all the fresh air up. During our drive my mind wondered on how I’ve always wanted to get away from my dysfunctional atmosphere at my mothers’ house. I kept remembering my brothers who would always be there to give me headaches during my homework. My sister, not being the cleanest person ensuring our room we shared was anything but neat.

I thought of how I was always getting bothered to drive anywhere and everywhere under the sun by all of my siblings. Last but not least, me being left to deal with all the uninvited company my brothers and sister had just appearing at the front door. It was petrifying from everyone listening to ear piercing music, play fighting destroying something, indulging in video games and most of all dirtying up the house. I had mixed emotions because on one side I wouldn’t miss the chaotic environment. But on the other hand, I was furious with my mother because in my mind this move was anything but planned or thought out.

Everything I owned was just sitting on the bed of a dirty truck, not nestled in boxes protected nor organized with labels! I knew that I could operate better in my own space, being around my siblings weren’t going to benefit me in a positive way. I was 22 and being that my siblings were too young to understand the urge of improving themselves like I did. I always knew that someday I wanted to move from my mom’s house, but on my own terms, the right way. Not this way!

As we turned into the long gravel driveway, I remembered how beautiful this place was. My grandfathers’ house was at the top of the road, with another house in the back surrounded by trees and a garage nestled in the middle of it all. I visualized the garden that used to be on the other side of the driveway adjacent to the garage. I reminisced when me, my mother, my grandpa and siblings used to plant fruits and vegetables at every year. I could just taste the ripe, fresh tomatoes I used to pick off the vines just thinking about it.

We walked into the house to greet my grandfather before we started moving anything in. Looking at my grandpa with his fragile body, clothes covered in oil, glasses and with white hair trickling down his face and neck. His eyes lit up with joy and I could tell he was surprised to see us by the way that he smiled. It took a long stern stare and some convincing for him to know who I was, being that I didn’t visit often. When he heard my explanation of who I was he seemed comfortable to say the least.

Before carrying my belongings in we conversated with him for a while for some casual conversation and to remind him that I was moving in so he wouldn’t be confused. Hours later as my arms fought with me as I lifted the last of my boxes from the tailgate of my mom’s swamp green ford truck. I could feel the sunrays beaming down on me, burning the top of my head, drenching my body with sweat and weighing me down as I walked to the steps of a dusty gray porch. I could feel my quadriceps screaming at me telling me “Sit down!” as I brought the last heavy box into my new room. I listened to my quads and I sat on my bed looking around my room. The small space made me feel cozy and the dark burgundy carpet was comforting.

After I’d said my goodbyes to my mother and unpacked numerous boxes of all my belongings, I felt exhausted as I had no energy left in my body. Beyond the sweat and sore loins I felt peace and relief. Peace that intrigued me to think clearer and even more freely. The feeling of relief rejuvenated my tender muscles. My body was feeble, but my mind was expanding. Thoughts rushing through my mind like a store on black Friday, each though attempting to claim its own reserved space in my mind.

As I walked out the creaking front door and onto the eroded porch, my eyes envied the vast open skies and the hills of emerald green grass that stretched for miles. I only dreamt of feeling this free. Now away from the dysfunctional chaos I used to call home I found myself thinking. Thinking of my ambitions and where I wanted to be in the next four years. What should I do? How do I begin? I thought of these questions as I gazed into my newfound paradise. I also pondered that today is my new beginning.

I walked back into the house with a new profound purpose. I couldn’t help but catch a glance of my grandpa, look at him with sorrow and sincerity. Knowing all the pain he was going through made me think of sad thoughts. I couldn’t imagine feeling the way that he felt. The first week was tough, I woke up to a different person everyday some were filled with joy while others were compiled with hatred and anger. Sometimes items being thrown, frowns being exchanged from person to person and I could hardly recognize him or predict his mood. Months before summer started, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and bipolar disorder. Even though he needed to be tended to, I felt like I was back at my mothers’ house babysitting once again! I’d cook him breakfast which made him happy, I even washed his clothes and cleaned up the house on a daily basis.

While completing my daily priorities such as taking care of my grandpa and my dog the thoughts still visited me. What could I do differently? Will I finally purchase my own home! Would I have a job that I loved! Most of all would I feel like I’m being all that I can be? Many days seemed to be the same wake up, answer my daily questions from the old man, get ready for work, answer more questions upon my arrival and go to sleep. My soul hungered for more, more purpose, knowledge and challenges.

In the past, I’d contemplated going to community college multiple times and I also discussed my thoughts with my dear mother proclaiming I wanted to enroll. I had a few obstacles hender my motivation. I had to purchase a car, get a better job and most of all develop a mature mindset to where I would not only love school, but appreciate it. Even though I had difficulties, I knew in the back of my mind this time I would take the steps needed to start my journey of becoming a better me. Although, I had obligations at home and other priorities, I knew that I wanted to purse my degree in either business or art.

That day after having a thoughtful conversation with my mother I started researching information about terms, enrollment dates and the regulations for attending my local community college J. Sargeant Reynolds! I was so ecstatic that I even called my mother afterward to let her know what I was up to! I even began the process for enrolling that day! My emotions were all over the place with my excitement was fear, anxiety and paranoia. I was petrified that I wouldn’t take school seriously, just like I did in high school. But somehow in the beneath the anxiousness I felt hope.

Starting community college was easy, but keeping up with assignments while juggling work, my dog and my grandpa was challenging. Throughout my first semester I felt like I was in the middle of a tornado my patience was wearing thin, my mind was in overload and my body felt like I was hit by a truck at 75 miles an hour. I’d wake up exhausted like I never slept, and I didn’t know what to do. My grandfathers’ mind was shrinking in understanding every day. While my mind was growing with knowledge. Where are my shoes? Can you help me with this tv? Who are you? Can you take me home? These were some of the questions he’d ask. There were so many questions I couldn’t even count them.

Most days before work I had to chase him, because he felt like he didn’t belong there at his own home. He’d walk down the road unannounced and even turn up missing when I woke up in the morning. After some revaluating my mother and I decided to develop a system that would work for me and my grandfather. Thankfully my grandmother, who just came back from her trip to Indiana, was available. She would assist me in watching my grandfather while I was doing homework. In turn he had the attention and super vison he needed, while I was able to complete my school work to the best of my ability.

Throughout this experience I’ve learned so much and my grandfathers’ house will always be very important to me. It’s become my home. This is my place, the place where I will always recall that I felt safe away from commotion. It has given me the ability to become freer and have an open mind. I know in the back of my mind I could’ve rejected this place and seen it as a burden. However deep down without this place I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Works Cited

Piper, Karen. “Remmembering Water.” John Muir and the Calypso Borealis – John Muir, 1996,

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