Visiting my grandparents (on my dad’s side) in Ohio was an event of nearly every summer of my childhood. After a twelve-hour road trip (during which I must have picked up my parents’ Secrets to Sanity on a Road Trip), we’d arrive at the little bungalow my grandparent’s raised my father and uncles.
Days were relaxed…mostly involving play or visiting relations. My sister and I would sleep on the trundle bed in my Grandma’s sewing room. We’d play by the sooty cast iron wood stove with a mini toy cast iron stove.
We’d go to the playground across from their house (which was the coolest thing ever – a playground in the lot by your house!? Why couldn’t I BE so lucky!). Here’s a pic of my sis and I and a neighborhood girl at the playground. Can you tell we’ve just left the 1970’s? LOL! I’m not sure any of those playground rides would be considered safe today!
I’d count the blueberry, cherry, peach, and apple pies lined up on top of my Grandma’s washer and dryer and hope we’d get to taste all of them after dinner. (My Grandma was famous for her pie crust, which I have attempted to master, and you can find here).
We’d visit my Uncle Zeke who made honey – well, his bees did – at his apiary: Zee Bee Apiary. And check out his rabbits (that I later discovered he ate!).
I’d run through the tears of the weeping willow tree in my Aunt Norma’s yard, feed her chickens, stare at the zillions of elephant figurines she’d inherited from my infamous Great-Grandma Eisenhauer. Here’s some earlier pics of my brother and I visiting our Grandparents. Gotta love the vintage babywearing dad photo, right!?
On the lucky years, we’d go to Cedar Point. Oh how I’d beg someone, anyone to ride the tallest coaster of the year with me. I was usually turned down. LOL.
My grandma was a champion tag-saler (although out there it’s called a “garage sale”) and sometimes we’d get to trail along with her. Or she’d take us to the high school pool, the damp walls echoing with the slaps of feet and water and kids shouting “Marco Polo.”
One summer my brother and I got to stay for a week without my parents! What an adventure! We’d feed ducks at Cold Creek, visit The Blue Hole, and walk to get the mail at the post office (where my Aunt Norma was the Postmistress).
We steered clear of the “spite grass” that grew between my Grandpa’s yard and the neighbor, only known to me as “that Pearl!” I was always afraid she’d kidnap me.
I remember thinking their church was a cathedral (at home, we met in a tiny Grange Hall on metal folding chairs with a handful of families). And their backyard with tunnels through the trees was a fairyland. And my Grandpa’s garage with the old Viking refrigerator full of glass bottled soda, and the sagging armchair by the fireplace and the wooden stump where we cracked black walnuts was from somewhere between Middle Earth and the Middle Ages. Don’t you love how the world is large-wonderful when you’re a kid?
Honestly, I’m guessing my Grandma and Grandpa didn’t do a WHOLE lot to entertain us kids, but we were enthralled nonetheless… because that’s how it was “back in the 80’s!”
This week… our oldest stayed by himself at his Grandparent’s house… where he saw a turkey, and ducks, and visited a playground, and went to the Frozen Gnome for ice cream, “the green one” but turns out that’s pistachio and he doesn’t like nuts. But it sounds a little like my own visits to Grandma and Grandpa Howard’s house…
These days, caregivers compete against television, the Internet, video games, and cell phones. So if you’re hosting grandkids or nieces and nephews (or even just your own kids) this summer, I’ve detailed some captivating activities for hosting a “Grandma Camp” right in your own backyard. Check out my post at the Melissa & Doug blog!
And of course, don’t forget… sometimes all the kids need is some time for their imagination to shake off the digital haze and come out and play!