Of all the rooms in my grandparents’ house, the living room stands out to me the most. It was like Grand Central Station in my grandparents’ house because no other part of the house could really be accessed without passing through that room. The front door, the kitchen, the play room, and the bedrooms were all connected to it. It’s no wonder my Pawpaw set up camp there most days — he could keep a better eye on everything.
His preferred spot was on the end of the couch next to the front door. He would sit with his arm resting on the back, occasionally using his fingers to push apart the lace curtains to peer out towards the main road. This would usually result in a scolding from my Grandma:
“Leave the lace alone!”
“I’m only looking, Marie!”
Somehow this exchange occurred every day.
There was a television in the corner, usually with a game show on. You could usually tell the time of day based on what game show it was, though he did occasionally switch over to the news or cartoons for us grand-kids. The game shows I remember the most are, of course, Price is Right in the mornings and Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune in the afternoons or evenings.
Price is Right was especially sacred to him and God help you if you were too loud while it was on. He would shout at us to keep it down and then inevitably send us to one of the remaining, unoccupied corners of the room for a time out. Sometimes we could be sneaky and whisper to each other behind the recliner that rested against the wall between those two empty corners. More often than not though we would be caught and made to stay in this odd time out location even longer.
Usually though we would just stop playing all together and watch Price is Right with him instead. Sometimes we would drag in a cardboard box and blanket to sit in. I can’t believe I used to be small enough to sit in those boxes my Grandma would get from the store.
The living room wasn’t usually for play time — that was reserved for the adjoining room known as the play room. It belonged entirely to us grand-kids. We had to make sure at the end of the day that all of our toys, games, and books were returned to that room. Since, inevitably, we would spread ourselves through the house.
During holidays, the living room doubled as a second dining room. It was where the kids’ table was set up, in easy view of the kitchen and the adults. We would eat at a card table set up just for us — sometimes we even got our own little bowl of rolls — though of course we would have preferred eating with the adults. It seemed like such a privilege to do so back then.
I haven’t set foot in that place in over a decade; but any time I close my eyes and think about my Grandparents, I can vividly recall the summers spent at their house.