Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Bit Nostalgic

This weekend we went up to Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania, to celebrate the Swedish Festival {explanation of that is coming in another post} with family. Mt. Jewett is a tiny town that is pretty much in the middle of nowhere and it is also where my mom grew up. My grandmother, aunt and cousins still live there.

When I was little, we often visited our family in Mt. Jewett and my favorite childhood memories surround these visits. My immediate family moved around a lot when I was growing up, so I've always said that my grandparent's house in Mt. Jewett was my long term stability.

There are a lot of memories that came from the house you see above, my grandparent's house. That house has been in my family for so long that my grandmother actually grew up there. I always was so excited after a long car ride to come around that bend in the road and see the end of their driveway. Once the car was shifted into park, my sister and I would race down the long sidewalk to see if Grandpa and Grandma had waited up for us. Usually we would find them snoring in their recliners. As much as I swore that house was spooked {I used to sprint up the stairs, because I swore someone was going to grab my feet from the playroom below}, I loved being there. The smell of the bread drawer {that is totally random, but the smell was so distinct, that to this day I remember it and I love it}, the angel bed at the top of the stairs {all of us kids fought as to whose turn it was to sleep in the angel bed ... don't ask me why we called it that}, Grandpa's 3 Musketeers bars up in the cabinet, the koo-koo clock that chimed every 15 minutes or so, the growth chart behind the basement door that Grandma measured all the grandkids on ... these are things I cherish and will never forget.

My grandparents ...

Sadly, in April 2001, my Grandfather passed away. He fought hard, but in the end he graced the angels with his presence. Shortly thereafter, my Grandmother decided to sell the house and move up town. I was nothing short of devastated. That was a huge part of my life ... gone. Now when I come around that bend in the road, I find my heart beating harder as I prepare to stare at that brown house with blue trim ... no longer ours. {Whew, the tears are flowing here.} This weekend was no different ... I actually had to hold back the tears as we passed by the house. That was just the first nostalgic moment I had this weekend.

Before we left Mt. Jewett today, I wanted to ride out past the Kinzua Bridge. When I was little, we used to walk across this railroad bridge for fun. My cousins and I were always so excited about this ... I'm not sure exactly why. I think we gave our parents heart attacks each time though ... in hindsight, I probably would have had a heart attack too. The railroad wood was not in the greatest shape and there were plenty of spots that had large gaps in them. In 2003, a tornado rolled through and the middle section of the bridge collapsed. My heart sank. All of those memories were shattered ... they fell to the ground with every last piece of wood from the bridge. I now dream of being able to take my kids across the bridge, just like I did when I was a kid, but that will never happen. Here are some pictures that I took today of the bridge ...

As I walked along the trails at Kinzua today, I spotted a ton of blackberry bushes. When I was little, we used to go blackberry picking behind my grandparents house. We'd get dressed, from head to toe, and get as many blackberries as we could without getting scratched by the prickers. Today, Mason and I wandered around the bushes, picking the blackberries ...

Another nostalgic moment, and I can't remember if we did this at Grandma's or just at home, but nonetheless ... you see the flower below? Did you know that if you put this type of flower in a vase with food coloring, that it will change colors? Learn something new everyday, eh?

All of these nostalgic moments had my mind going crazy this weekend, and it made me pretty emotional. It had me longing for my grandfather, and longing for all the great times I had when I was a kid. There are so many more memories ... snowmobiling with my Grandpa, sledding down the huge hill behind my grandparents {and having Grandpa pull us back up behind the snowmobile}, camping with my grandparents {Grandma, I swear I never swore at that Barbie girl}, riding the lawn mower, tractor and 4-wheeler around my grandparents yard, picking apples from Grandma's apple tree, going to church and having Pastor never know which granddaughter was which, getting yelled at by my Grandmother for ruining her flowers along the sidewalk {I can still hear her yelling ... "Not in the flowers!"}, having Easter egg hunts in my grandparents yard, helping my Grandfather in his shop ... the list goes on, but the best part of all of this was doing all these things with my cousins ... they were {and still are} my favorite people.


  1. Awe, you just wrote about all of the emotions that I think about every time someone mentions Mt. Jewett. Now I am crying at work. Well said though...

  2. was like I was writing this (almost). I feel the same way about my grandparents house- and the blackberries! Your post was so beautiful, thank you for sharing that with us, and what a treat for Mason, Payton, and Addison someday.

  3. Nice story Bethany...there was a bread drawer at my grandparents house too...I still wonder if the drawer still smells like that when I drive past it in Waunakee. Think we'll have a bread drawer for our grandkids someday? SCARY!!