For me walking into my nanas house as a child was like walking back in time. Into a bygone yesteryear. There was ornaments and clocks and furniture from a time which pre-dated my life almost double. My nana lived in a traditional English house which most people lived in at the time. A two up, two down terrace house. The front door stepped straight out onto the street and out the back was a nice yard.
To me looking back to when I was a child my grandmother’s house was a magical place. A place I spent alot of my childhood in the summer holidays when my nana used to take care of me and my brother when mum went to work.It holds sentimental value. I had never known my grandad he had died 8 years before I was born but I always felt like he was still there in some way.
Now to me this house was peaceful and relaxing but it hadn’t always been like that. It was steeped deep in family history and my nan had lived there since she was roughly 18 with my grandad.
Houses were not what they are now. Standards are not the same as now. My nana used to have to battle mice and cockroaches reguarly as this was a common thing. This was the 1930s and standards were not so great. There was an outside toilet. The whole idea of an outside toilet to me seems like a long way in history and madness as to how anyone could live like that! But that was the times and the normal! My mum once told me of how horrible it was going outside to the toilet in the middle of a cold bleak mid winters night. I am so lucky to live in such advanced times.
World war two had broken out and my grandad had volunteered for the navy to help fight the nazi war machine. This was a time of hardship not realized in most modern british minds and lives. My nan has been left at home alone to survive alone with a young daughter during the early years of the war. I often remember her telling me of during some air raids she and my aunty as a very young girl possibly two or three years old would hide in the pantry under the stairs. This pantry was there throughout all the time I visited and to me it was a little area under my nans stairs with the entry into the pantry in the kitchen where she kept a few boxes of storage and a hoover. But I bet alot of emotion was contained within that small space of time. Emotions such as worry and anger and panic and sadness. A place of a flickering candle in the black out and the sounds of bombs dropping and the sounds of the planes going over. Once a bomb landed close by and blew the windows outwards. I cannot imagine all this happening within the walls I spent many a happy time and many nights staying over as a child.
Over time as the years passed my nan had 9 children all born in the same front bedroom overlooking the street outside. Once I helped my uncle decorate the front room and there was remains of another time under the paper. There was names on the wall and markings where my mum and her eight siblings had been doing a height chart with each name against their height carved into the wall. This was probably lost in time from the 1950s and 60s and once again shown itself in the mid 1990s. Where had these times gone? Time had flew by fast.
Here is a family history steeped deep. Life’s had been played out here and events and situations and emotions had unfolded amongst so many different people. There was happy times and there was sad times. My nan suffered the loss of my grandad. He died young especially by todays standards and was robbed of many happy years.
But there was many happy christmas times as well. As a young child myself my nana cooked for the whole family. For such a small house at least 30 of us managed to fit in on Christmas day to share Christmas dinner together. How my nana in her 70s managed to Cook for that many people I will never know and at the time maybe never appreciated but looking back she has my full on respect for such an achievement year after year.
I cannot imagine 8 children all sleeping in one room. My mum and her sisters all shared the front bedroom. This was common for big families to do so at one time. Im not sure if today it is allowed I dont know but then it was normal. So many childhoods were spent here. Children and many grandchildren spent hours in the house and many slept over in the same front bedroom. I always detected a presence in the front bedroom perhaps it was energies passed from many and memories and time showing itself.
Sadly my nan passed away at the age of 98 and the house which had remained within my family for 80 years had to be sold. Now its for a new family and a new beginning, era and time and I often wonder – do the new owners know the memories of so many different people which were within them four walls? Did they know exactly how many people were born into the room they now possess as a quiet room in their home and exactly how many childhoods were spent there of people who have long since grown up?
The aunty who my nana sat in the pantry as a young child also grew up and grew old into her 70s and has passed away. She had lived her whole life and she came and she went in the flicker of time. My nana had been born many years before her and outlived her oldest daughter by a further four or so years before nan died. So now they are back together and I wonder if the shadows of time will replay and the echoes of them memories of them two in the pantry still linger? Them two together again in time.
Perhaps them energies of that home and memories will linger within them walls forever and within the hearts of those who know how much the house in sentimental value it was really worth…