My Granny’s House

 

My Granny lived in a tiny house on First Street in Hominy, Oklahoma. 

What hazy things I can remember, were from our sporadic family visits,

usually on the way from one place to another new place to live.

Military families move often.

In my child’s memory, the house did not seem all that small.

I remember it had wooden walls and faded linoleum floors,

I remember the covered front porch, living room,

two bedrooms and a kitchen. I loved the kitchen most of all.

There was a mere hint of a back porch with a wringer washer.

In the kitchen, a window above the sink beside the stove,

a curtained pantry with lots of shelves filled with jars

of green beans or squash or tomatoes or apples Granny canned

The bathroom was through the back, rickety screened porch

outside. This was a one person outhouse. It stood off to the right

of Granny’s garden. She grew some righteous okra; the yellow and brown

Hibiscus-like flowers stood waving on thick stalks taller than she was.

The outhouse smelled like what it was. My older sister

once locked me in and said the spiders would get me. I

returned the favor one night…she was bit by a black-widow

spider and our parents had to driver her to Pawhuska,

some distance away. I can’t remember a spanking but there might have been one.

I am sure it cost money that was night as by then we were a family of seven.

The outhouse was fumigated the next day and the smell of fumigation mixed

With normal outhouse scents lingered. On our next visit there was an indoor bathroom

carved from the rickety back porch and built my grown cousins.

It was nice to have a place inside with a real bathtub and a door and no spiders that did not stink

plus a real flush toilet. “Living in tall cotton” daddy said.

I think that was like “eating high on the hog” and other sayings he said

that I remember still, sixty eight plus years ago.

This was the house where my daddy was born, and twenty-three years

later, where my sister was born. The same bed Granny slept in.

I saw the house again when my cousin drove me past it, the last time

I was in town nine years ago now. It was a tiny, barely visible, shingled shack,

Left to rot in the Oklahoma sun, “burned down by some Crack addicts” she said.

I had no words except to murmur “oh my”. A lump in my throat,

as we slowly drove past the weed-covered lot, and then turned around

in a filling station on the highway, and headed back in to town.

Retrospective

 

A faded old book with a baby blue stained cover,

the color for a wished for boy, who would not be me.

 

Inside, a picture of my mother, father, sister and me;

October 18, 1949, is the date written in my mother’s hand.

 

Daddy in his uniform, is smiling and proud,

a sharp-looking military man with laughing green eyes.

 

Beneath his cap is dark, curly red hair, that I would later inherit,

but not until I was nearly two.

 

Mother wears a dark suit, probably blue.

Her dark hair is styled in the elegance of the late forties.

 

Her eyes look dark;

I know they are robin’s egg blue.

 

Big sister sits on daddy’s knee, mommy’s holding me-

two days shy of three months old.

 

Perfect picture of a family headed on adventures far across the globe;

we were well on the way to being a perfect Catholic family.

 

Not here are another girl, and the thrice wished for brother;

many years after came yet, another sister.

 

The look in Mother and Daddy’s eyes speaks contentment

My sister looks cheery. I look bald, gaseous, maybe a touch rebellious, which would come later.

 

Until I was 7 months in her womb,

her doctors tried to convince Mother she had a tumor.

 

No one knew then that many years later she would have one,

and so would I.

 

© 2016  Nancilynn Saylor

Family photo IMG_1756(2)