My Top Ten Memory Places

I thought of using distinguished places, but then I thought of my four houses; my father’s house (bought by my paternal grandmother), my maternal grandmother’s house, my paternal grandmother’s old house, and my great-grandmother’s house, where I currently live. These places are more like things, but I think when we think of  a place, we’re just thinking of a collection of things.

  1. The mirror – my first memory is of walking across the living room to the mirror at the foot of the steps at my father’s house (house 1).
  2. The attic – my father’s attic was a place I frequented as a child and as an adolescent after I moved back to Northern Cambria in 2005. As a child, I saw a shadowy figure that appeared to have a hat and a trench coat, the Man in the Hat. Last year, we were discussing my grandmother’s dream of a little man with a pumpkin head. I brought up the Man in the Hat only for my dad to say that Mary Beth talked about him to, although I never told a soul about the Man in the Hat. My dad said the dog’s would chase something into the basement a lot, but that hasn’t happened in years. Maybe the Man in the Hat left.
  3. The hallway – at my maternal grandmother’s house (house 2). She lives in a bungalow in Alexandria. The hallway was the pathway to all the bedrooms and the bathroom. When I lived there, I liked to run down the hallway into my bedroom door at the end of the hall. I found the brain damage freeing.
  4. The wall – my paternal grandmother lived in low-income housing at Cherry Ridge before moving in with my great grandmother prior to my great grandmother’s death in 2010. Her house had white walls with a sinewy, veiny texture, more similar to my maternal grandmother’s house than the panelling of my father’s house or my great-grandmother’s house. I loved running my fingers along it when I would use the staircase.
  5. The backdoor – my father’s house has a backdoor that autolocks. One time, when I arrived home from school, the front door was locked. I got a crowbar from the unlocked garage and used it on the backdoor, busting it open like a tin can.
  6. The walk-in closet – when I visited my father during my time living with my mother in Alexandria, he would spoil my sister and I. He gave me a special room in the walk-in closet with a bookshelf, a card table with a Mario sticker on it, and a tiny TV where I would watch Ernest movies.
  7. The porch -at my great-grandmothers. When she was alive, she, my grandmother, and my great aunt would go sit out there to smoke and play “Prettiest Car” where one would say a number out of three, then they’d watch the cars pass the house, and whichever car was prettiest, the first, second, or third, would win.
  8. The basement -the basement at Dad’s house was home to my cat Dale while I lived with my grandmother who hated animals. Dale ran away a few years ago, but the most memorable part of Dad’s basement is the tornado. We stayed in the basement as a tornado tore threw our line. The long line of indentation remains to this day.
  9. The basement – Great-grandmother’s basement is a place I have to go to a lot. I have to fix the fuse and check on the amount of oil my grandmother has whenever I visit. My grandmother doesn’t dream a lot, but she dreamt of a little man with a pumpkin head coming up from the basement when I was in high school and has been haunted by it ever since. She gets pissed if you bring up “the little man.”
  10. The basement – my maternal grandmother’s basement is more of a den. It floods a lot. My cousins and maternal aunt lived there for most of my life, and my mother lived down there after my aunt moved out, until my mother moved to Harrisonburg. My sister lived down there to, but she lives in Burke, nearby now. I assume that now it just accumulates dust and must, as a basement should.

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