**This piece was submitted as part of our Community Contributor series.
By Heather Blair / OC Monitor Community Contributor
Though my grandparents’ home has been abandoned for years, life speaks from the walls.
Faded paint and windows dark, as if the house sleeps deeply. Dust and cobwebs settle thickly in every nook and cranny, but to me, I could walk through the back path and find it as real and alive as my memories are.
As I opened the wooden panel door without a knock, the scent of whatever Grandma was preparing would greet me first. I’d see my Grandpa in a white ribbed undershirt, large arm resting on the table, with Grandma busy in the kitchen, checkered duster floating around her. Warm smiles and sparkling eyes would say hello as I’d settle in to feed my belly and soul, surrounded by their loving company.
Each room contains living photos that flash before me, replaying the memories of my childhood. I don’t have to walk the halls to recall them, only close my eyes and be taken back in time.
Chasing lizards in the laundry room. The sound of rain hitting metal blinds from the bathroom window. Games of hide & seek and truth or dare with cousins from musty closets. Bottles of Nehi at the back door, cool from the concrete floor. Fried bluegill, Grandpa stew, and a fresh glass pitcher of sweet tea. Card games and tall tales, family meals, and big belly laughter fill the tiny table. Heavy black rotary phone in the hall among old family snapshots from early years. The living room, where baking sheets of popcorn were shared and socks folded. Sleepovers in Grandma’s bed, where little girls snuck into her shoe and jewelry collection. At the foot of the stairs, sun casts light onto dust dancing, mesmerizing me as a child. Upstairs, a secret hideaway, where imaginations ran free.
Outside, though weather-worn, footprints of my family echo on this hill. Generations whisper among the swaying grass. Remnants of flowers, purposefully planted, stay bloomed in my mind no matter the season. Birds still gather at poles, where feeders once hung, as my grandparents watched daily while sipping coffee. Paths no longer visible, but seen from the heart, where tag was played and explorations conquered. Where pigtails bounced and rolled down grassy knolls.
This plot is a part of me, forever etched in my mind. Woven into who I am. And its awoken each time I drive up the hill to an abandoned house that once was home.
I wonder the stories other walls could tell, as I drive this countryside. I’m drawn to abandoned spaces, hauntingly beautiful capsules of time past. There’s a history to each building or home, a link to former generations. Of simpler times. Pages and stories of early chapters. If only they could talk…
Heather Blair is an Ohio County native, residing in Beaver Dam with her husband, Tim, and son, Noah. She is a Family Support Worker for the HANDS program, through the Green River District Health Department. Through HANDS, she helps families build healthy, safe environments to boost growth and development for their children. She is active in her church, enjoys rock painting, photography, fishing and exploring with her husband. Heather has a passion for writing and sharing about faith, family, and finding joy in every day.