What places and things will Gus remember fondly?
Our rough and splintery deck with the bucket of seashells we collected at the beach last year?
His dark bedroom with the grass green shag carpet and the pinwheel mobile I made him and paintings by his great grandfather and great aunt and an old plaid sheet covering the windows, which he hides behind, shouting “Where Gus?”
My old guitar with the hot pink pick he likes to “accidentally” drop into the hole of the guitar?
The swaying, almost shimmering maple tree in our back yard? (I remember setting newborn Gus down in his carrier next to me as we sat at the dining room table for our first dinner home all together. He was wide awake, as usual, and was very quietly staring out the back door at the tree as the fresh green newly leafed branches shook in the breeze. Since then, at dinner, I often catch him transfixed by that tree still.)
My grandparents’ houses were magical places. Expansive basements. The old white painted piano. The 1960s Barbies and metal dollhouse. The formal living room with fancy velvet loveseats (now mine). My Mun’s small gold brocade recliner, my Papa’s big leather recliner. The cold room off the kitchen where the fudge was stored. The smoked hams. The bookshelves in the guest room filled with assorted knick knacks (rolled paper flowers, small baskets, decorative boxes, treasures). The bag full of paper New Year’s Eve party hats. The blue glass juice glasses (now in my own cabinet). My grandparents each had their own chair they favored, as did my great aunt, who lived there for a time (and whose chair I now own, the old worn rose fabric now upholstered over.) The dining room table (also now mine) where pickled beets were always served (my grandmother’s favorite), and also homemade applesauce. The glass candy dishes full of sour balls.
My childhood home was a magical place. The glass door in the hallway my brother and I would peer through on Christmas morning. Open windows with the whole house fan on at night, sleeping under a Georgia springtime breeze and cricket sounds. The “house” I made in the front bushes, where I’d make potions out of berries I’d dry in the sun. The tuft of monkey grass that was the perfect size for me to sit in and even had a smaller tuft of monkey grass that served as an ottoman. The heat vents on the floor on which I’d curl up and read on cold days.
Lately I’ve been hearing Gus say “MiPa’s house! MiPa’s house!” upon waking. That’s what he calls my parents’ house. He has discovered two small bouncy balls which resemble cherry tomatoes and which he has, miraculously, not tried to eat. He climbs up a few stairs at MiPa’s house (we don’t have stairs at our house, so these are a novelty) and rolls the cherry tomato balls down the steps, saying “Bouncy bouncy bouncy.” He will point upstairs and say “Ross!” though Ross is living in DC. When Ross is home, Gus leads him around MiPa’s house, ordering “Gooooooo” and checking over his shoulder now and again to make sure Ross is following. He has found the big box of jumbo sidewalk chalk my mom keeps under a chair in her bedroom. He has tentatively explored my mom’s garden, with the fishpond and the birdhouses and the moss and the shade plants. I will have to check and see if my monkey grass chair and ottoman still exist. He sits in my old chair at the breakfast room table and my dad presents him with elaborate plates of chopped fruit. He likes the phone cord of the old rotary phone in the breakfast room, though he really shouldn’t play with it at all, and we tuck the cord up on top of the phone when he makes a beeline for it. He wants to open all the cabinets. And there are a LOT of cabinets. He hasn’t even seen the loft in my old bedroom yet. That will blow his mind, I think.
What things and places will he someday remember with a happy pang?