Nana's House

1956 August - 1957 June

Created by Kevin Reidy on 08/28/2010
Karen's family moved away from Columbus during her 8th grade year and it was decided that Karen would be allowed to stay in the area and live with her maternal grandmother in Bexley, Ohio so that Karen could finish out 8th Grade with her long term friends. As Karen told me of this time, she spoke lovingly of her grandmother and how wonderful it was to live with her. Below is a short transcript of one of the conversations Karen and I had of this time. I think this was a very important year for Karen - the beginning of her independence and the deep establishment of a loving relationship with a wonderful grandmother. Kevin: Tell me about your beloved grandma. Karen: Grandma was called Nana. There’s imagery that I have that she always hummed – and I had a feeling that she didn’t know that it could be heard. I don’t know why I thought that. But she’d lived alone for so long that she was just sort of humming softly to herself. I have the sense of her as an essentially happy soul, and that you know, she wore these old-lady dresses – that’s what we’d call them now –a light, kind of gauzy, soft-flowered, pastelly print kind of thing. Does anybody wear those now? You know, it seems like there was a predictable morning scene – the sun would be up and she’d be in the kitchen at the formica top – and she’d be having her Pepperidge farm toast – and I can hear her putting the butter and jelly on her Pepperidge farm toast humming away while she had her breakfast each morning. I have an image of her there – in what was called the sun room – which was a small room – on 3 sides you could open the screen doors and the sun was very soft-lit. She’d be reading the paper and listening to the news and there was this sense of a deep, pervasive peacefulness. Another image - she had this washing machined in the basement and would use that and then hang the laundry out to dry – when I think back on it now – it was so lovely – but it could have been lonely – but when I was there, it wasn’t lonely. Kevin: She was in Bexley? Karen: She lived a block from main street. Kevin: A block from a section where there was a store to buy candy? Karen: Oh yes, and a block and half walk to the library. Kevin: Did you go to the library a lot? Karen: Well, I certainly did – I was actually very bored – I think the library was very well censored- but I know it helped to keep me alive – it was a thin line to keep me from that and dying of boredom. Big houses, big trees, big ‘ol leaves….