Once within a House & Yard


Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action. ~ Mother Teresa

Grandmothers house 2802 Fleetwood AvenueOnce upon a time all it took was a quick glance from the sidewalk and the heart and soul of this place could be felt in an instant. An American flag flew proud and tall on a big pole in the yard. A couple of rocking chairs sat on the small front porch and small pots of flowers crowded the ledge around it. The voices of neighborhood children walking by cheerily yelled out “Hi Baba!” It was a daily occurrence. The woman who lived there was a grandmother of everyone’s dreams.

A huge tall oak tree once grew on the left side. It canopied the property as if it embraced the residents living within the bungalow-style house.  Both front and backyard were carefully and lovingly tended by a bald, kind-hearted man who was called Pop by his grandchildren. He was as equally fine and gentile as his wife.

In the backyard grew lilacs, wisteria and the hugest magnolia tree I’d ever witnessed. So tall that as a young child, I couldn’t even see up to the tippy top. The tree went on forever – all the way on up to heaven. An outdoor brick fireplace in the gorgeously landscaped backyard cooked many a hotdog! Goldfish circled the waters of a four foot cement pond.The sounds of fun and laughter could be heard frequently of a wonderful couple who especially adored the days when their four grandchildren came to visit.

Smells of fresh peach cake, “smoked neck” with potatoes and green beans, yeast rolls and other lovingly cooked food and baked goods wafted outside through the screen door of the tiny galley kitchen. The aromas settled on pots of colorful pansies and petunias and on rows of dinner plate dahlias and gladiolas that lined the perimeter of the yard.

The house still stands, but when I look at this picture, I don’t see any evidence of the life that once graced the place. The tender loving care put  into the house and the children and grandchildren who visited remains only in my memories. This place once made my heartbeat warmly every time I entered in the door.

So what’s the good news on this Thirsty Thursday?  I can still hear the voice of my Grandmother….”Susie Annie, is that you, hon? Want a nice tall glass of ice cold sweet tea? I just loaded up the candy dishes on the buffet in the dining room. Help yourself. There are nonpareils, jelly candies, butter mints, anything you want. The Chiclets are in the top drawer of the buffet on the left.”

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Click here for more information on Sue Batton Leonard’s publications.


At the Center of Our Worlds


Other things may change us, but we begin and end with family.” ~ Anthony Brandt 

Holidays and the steamy, humid days of summer they are the most memorable and fulfilling times of my childhood days. Looking back on the almost 650 blog writings that have been posted on All Things Fulfilling, I find that nostalgic thoughts have crept into my blog writing during those times of year. 

My summer memories would not be complete without the thoughts of my Grandparents, living in the “ summer sauna,” created by nature, of Baltimore City. My parents, my sister, brothers and I lived in the somewhat cooler suburbs, and when things began to heat up too much, my Grandparents would take a “drive to the country” and come to our house, as a reprieve from the summer heat. 

Summer just wasn’t summer without:

  • Watching my Grandfather record the score of the Orioles baseball games on the blank edges of the morning’s Baltimore Sun newspaper. http://bsun.md/miSBsG.  He wanted to make sure there were no errors made on the scoreboard at Memorial Stadium or at any other ballpark in the country!
  •  Rocking  in the chairs on my Grandparents front porch. My Grandmother gave all the passers-by a loud  “Hi, Hon” greeting. 
  • Walking through my Grandmothers impressive, citified gardens as she recited the names of the flowers in bloom, one by one.                 
  • Rushing to the crystal candy dish sitting on my Grandmother’s dining room buffet. We knew it had just been filled, in anticipation of our coming. We found hard candies, spearmint leaf “jellies” and nonpareils, too.
  • Peach-cake that my Grandmother had baked. Like no other!
  • Seeing our Grandfather walk out the door with his bow-tie neatly placed under his chin, dress hat atop his bald head and wearing  his fine leather dress shoes that just been polished, buffed and shined in preparation for a new day. He was dressed like that everyday to build custom homes. And we never even blinked!
  • Hearing our Grandmother announce invariably “Hon, I am going to go upstairs and throw myself across the bed” as the stifling afternoon heat and humidity made her succumb to her  “sinking spells.”
  • Seeing the sweat drip, drip, drip from the kitchen tap on the white kitchen drainboard sink. 

My brothers and sister and I find it hard to believe how many years our Grandparents have been gone from our lives. They were so much a part of our lives and, we, of theirs. My son and his seven cousins will have the same kind of fond memories of their loving Grandparents, only during a different time and in a different place.

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