Long time – no blog post. I am sorry about that. You know those times when life just kind of throws more at you than you can efficiently manage? Been there this last month.
A while back my cousin Kiley posted a picture on facebook (that’s it to the right) that immediately let loose a flood of memories that just wouldn’t let up. It was a picture of the house where my grandparent’s lived on their farm in the Kansas Flint Hills. No one lives there now and dilapidation has accomplished its evil deed, but that makes no difference to the memories. As a child I knew its every corner, every hiding place, where I could go to be alone and even where I didn’t want to go. Like the dark scary store room that had a garment bag with Halloween costumes in it! When I close my eyes, in my dreams at night, that’s what I see, that old house the way it looked back then.
That house – and the one my other grandparents lived in not far away, made a big impression on me. They were places where so many wonderful memories were made. The memories haven’t faded. It’s only the wood, plaster and mortar that fail. But a home isn’t made with boards and nails. A home is made with love and memories and it stands forever. As does my grandparents’ home.
I chose to set all my books in the Kansas Flint Hills because I have so many experiences of this area always close at hand. It is a little known fact (unless you recognized it) that my book ‘Shades of Summer’ is set in that very house (with a few fictional add-ins.) Yes, when I read those words it’s like visiting Grandma’s house all over again. It’s why Annie’s story is my favorite of them all.
One of the comments on Kiley’s facebook post that day was directed to my sister, asking if that’s the house where she grew up. The answer, for me, my siblings and my cousins is an adamant ‘Yes!’ We all did a fair share of our growing up there, in Grandma’s kitchen with a bottle of Pepsi, ice cream from the big chest freezer in the bedroom and the much sought after colorful metal cups. So for Tim, Jill, Brad, Tyler, Kiley, Brenda, Ryan and Erik: we may have done our growing up in different times and in different ways but we all have this in common. We were blessed with the greatest grandparents imaginable, a wonderful place to spur our imaginations, and now we have this in common, a bond for life that will never shatter. Grandma’s house. Enough said.