By Daviion Telsee, New Media student at Northwestern State University
Article written for magazine writing class
Originally from Campti, my Grandma lived in the deep woods of South Louisiana. Ain’t much out there but an old dirt road. Her house sits on 90 acres of land, with a mailbox, the car she drives and the trees that sing like the wind. I used to visit her often and every time I did, I felt a love that I knew would never die. She embraced me with hugs and kisses as soon as I came in the door. She always offered me food or drinks before I could even get comfortable on the couch.
One thing I can say about Grandma’s house is that every time you went there you were bound to leave with a full stomach. She always cooked, or if she didn’t have anything cooked at that moment, she would always make sure she had something ready for me to eat before I left.
Grandma used to wake up early in the morning, before the sunrise, just to cook breakfast. She’d roll out homemade biscuits, bacon and eggs with a serving of cheese grits. I used to love waking up in the early mornings to the smell of breakfast food. I remember Grandma always had the front door open, sun shining through the screen, with church music playing on low while the food was cooking.
Grandma’s love never fades, and she loved my friends and peers just as much as she loved me.
I used to spend some of my weekends over at Grandma’s house. She loved it when I came to stay and spend time with her, but she had one rule: If I stayed for the weekend, I must go to church with her early on Sunday morning.
Church was a sacred place for the elders back then and growing up I knew church was mandatory. Grandma would make sure she was fully dressed before she dressed me. She had my church clothes laid out and ironed from the night before. Grandma made sure I was sharp, with a pair of slacks and a button down. After she dressed me, she rubbed me down in coco butter so my face was as shiny as it could be.
Grandma was the secretary of the church, so she made sure she was there early to turn on the air or heater, depending on what time of the year it was. She’d tell me to sit in the pews while she went to the back to make sure everything was ready for the service. Sooner or later, more elders would walk in and welcome me with open arms as they passed. This one elder lady, Sister Beula, always made sure she had a piece of strawberry candy in her purse to keep me quiet during service.
As a kid, I never wanted to grow up because I just knew my grandma would take care of me forever.
When all of my cousins came to Grandma’s house it was nothing but laughter, smiles and a whole lot of love while we got fussed at for wrestling and jumping off her couches in the den. She would say, “Y’all don’t make me go get a switch off the tree!” We all proceeded to sit down after she said that. I loved when we all piled up on the floor to watch movies. Grandma came and checked on us periodically through the crack of the den door. She was just making sure her grandbabies were okay.
I can still remember Grandma saying, “Help me take this trash out, you big head boy!” We would both laugh and I’d go grab the trash. Grandma’s rules were simple and easy. I just had to follow them:
Don’t leave your trash or food on the table and clean up behind yourself.
If you ask for seconds, you must EAT THEM.
If you don’t eat the seconds, you have to sit there until you eat them.
We knew if we didn’t finish those seconds we would be in trouble. Grandma made us take a bath and go to bed if we didn’t. Some things were just understood. We knew what we could and couldn’t do, without Grandma saying anything.
Growing up at Grandma’s house taught me how to love the people around me unconditionally. She taught me how to accept strangers even if they weren’t our skin color or immediate family. Grandma’s house taught me how to love and live, because she made me realize her house was my safe place all along. It’s what kept me sane and well-grounded, even when I didn’t know it.
Grandma’s house normalized love. You were loved from the time you stepped in until the time you left. She made sure while we were there, we would be respectful of one another, and if an adult came in, you would greet them. It was always “Yes-ma’am,” “No-ma’am” and “Yes-sir,” “No-sir.” I never realized how much I would actually miss Grandma’s house until I got older. I was just living in that moment being a kid, but now I miss the warmth and the feeling of being safe. When I’m feeling down, I wish I could go lay across the couch and let my mind be at ease. Grandma’s house is what kept me grounded. I will always remember the life lessons Grandma taught me and use them today.
All in all, Grandma’s house was a place of unconditional love. A love that never dies, a love that I will cherish forever. Grandma’s house gave me peace of mind and it made me feel safe. If there’s one place in the world I could go back in time to again, it would definitely be Grandma’s house.