Easter just not the same without Grandma’s house

Posted on: April 12, 2009

When I was a kid, Easter was always a packed (yet wonderful) day. All of my grandparents lived in Kanawha, Iowa, about three hours from my hometown Williamsburg. We got there on Saturday because the sunrise service at my paternal grandmother’s Lutheran church started at 5:30 Easter morning.

My grandparents, Harold and Nettie Assink's house in Kanawha, Iowa.

My grandparents, Harold and Nettie Assink's house in Kanawha, Iowa.

There was a breakfast served by the church’s youth group who led the short service depicting the empty tomb from which Jesus had risen. After breakfast and visiting with my parents’ friends, we would go to my maternal grandparents’ house just a few blocks away and wait for the service at their Christian Reformed Church to begin at 9:30 a.m.

I do recall being rather sleepy many times during that service but the beautiful music and inspirational Easter message kept me awake. After that service and more visiting with friends and relatives, we went back to Grandma and Grandpa Assink’s house and prepared the Easter feast. And what a feast is was. Three or four courses. Salads. Desserts. Meat and potatoes.

Before the day was over, we headed to my Grandma Asbe’s on the farm and had another feast. It did not matter how much we ate earlier in the day, we all seemed up for more great home cooked food.  It truly was one of the most filling days of the year.

Things have obviously changed since I was a kid. Grandma Asbe died in 2000 and the farm was sold. Grandpa Assink died in 2004 but Grandma Assink stayed in the big yellow house on Main Street.

What my grandma's house looked like in the final stages of moving.

What my grandma's house looked like in the final stages of moving.

But the three-level house became just too big for her with the washer and dryer in the basement and the bedrooms and bathrooms on the third floor. So she made the decision to move into an apartment which could better suit her needs.

Last weekend was the monumental moving day. My parents and aunts and uncles from all over the country were there throughout most of the week, helping transfer 56 years of life in one house – 56 years. Three of my grandparents’ five daughters knew only that house as their parents’ and all of us grandkids knew no other.

My grandpa's hats, just as he left them, in an upstairs cabinet.

My grandpa's hats, just as he left them, in an upstairs cabinet.

I didn’t know how emotional I would be seeing it for the last time. In the past decade I didn’t go up there that often – once a year at most. I also knew it would be best for my grandmother to live in a single-level place close to some of her friends and family.

But when my brother and I walked in the house last Saturday, it was a jolt. Only the piano, dining room table and assorted boxes and piles of memories remained. Upstairs, I looked through the closets and built-in cabinets, snooping like I always did. In one cabinet sat my grandpa’s hats, untouched since before he died. In the basement grandpa’s woodworking bench remained as he left it. Grandma’s canning jars were lined up on the shelves, amazingly void of any dust.

Grandma Assink, always the character, enjoying pie in her new apartment.

Grandma Assink, always the character, enjoying pie in her new apartment.

As I walked through the house one last time, I thought of all those Easters and Christmases filled with love and laughter. My generation now has families and our kids are the same age we were while traipsing through grandma and grandpa’s house. I hope the people who end up buying the yellow house keep that family tradition alive. They have big shoes to fill. Just remember: the yellow house has been filled with children, music, food, love and laughter for more than 50 years. Please don’t let it be lonely for too long.

7 Responses to "Easter just not the same without Grandma’s house"

Thank you Angie! I’ve been upset about Grandma leaving the big yellow house, but now I finally cried. I’m glad it meant as much to you as me. Love ya!

Love ya, too, Nik. I didn’t really know how emotional I would get until Doug and I went over there to look around. It just seemed so empty. I’m sure we’ll have good times in the new place as well. Thanks for always been so close to Grandma.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Today’s post reminded me of moving my mom out of the home we grew up in, and then again out of her townhome into a senior apartment.

I held it together, amazingly, until the guys from 1-800-GOT-JUNK smashed my mom’s wineglasses into a trash can in the middle of my mom’s dining room.

Good luck to your grandma…hopefully life will be easier now!

Thanks for keeping your sense of humor through everything. It really does help, doesn’t it?

I enjoyed reading yr blog & seeing yr pics of the house, my family lived in Kanawah in 1974/5
we came from the U.K. though we are american from fortdodge originaly, I enjoyed living there, looking at the house reminded me of how our house looked, thanks, Julie x

HI, I forgot to mention we owned Carters Furniture store on the main street, & cousins of Carter family that lived ther already, not related to Carters that owned the funeral parlour, but my sister Kaydee & I was friends with Janey Carter,
Thanks again, God Bless xxx

Hi, I just wanted to respond to your post. I grew up in the house in the story, which was just two doors down from where your cousins Tim and Eddie lived for a couple of years. Tim was in my class in high school. I sat by your brother Kirk in study hall and we were both big David Bowie fans. I believe your brother Kriss was in my class but since he was ill I don’t remember him being there very often. The funniest part of this story is that since 1986 we have lived in the house that you lived in and our own children have grown up here. I love this house with its French doors, open staircase and colonades. I hope you have good memories of it as well.


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