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Grandparents’ House – 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History
November 8th, 2011 by Jessica

Week #14 – Grandparents’ House: Describe your grandparents’ house. Was it big or small? How long did they live there? If you do not know this information, feel free to describe the house of another family member you remember from your childhood.

The Coles

Duane and Florence Cole's House

Duane and Florence Cole's House

My DaD’s parents, Florence and Duane Cole, lived in a beautiful house at 719 Long Run, Valparaiso, Indiana. We used to make the 5 hour car trip to visit them for holidays, usually Thanksgiving and sometimes Easter.  Grandma and Grandpa Cole had a huge house by my standards. They moved in during the 1970’s and Grandma lived there until just after Grandpa passed away in 1994.

You walked into the front door into a formal living area where Grandpa spent a majority of his time in “the chair” watching television from behind the daily newspaper.  My cousin Christopher and I spent most of our time in this room with Grandpa and the TV, playing on the floor together.  We most frequently played with his He-Man figures, Legos and board games like Connect Four and Battleship.  Chris lived with Grandma and Grandpa.  This room was also the room I slept in on the couch when we stayed overnight.

If you walked a little further into the house there was a formal dining room with a huge wooden table, a grandfather clock and a beautiful china cabinet.  This room was used as the computer room.  It also had an old organ that I used to play often while Chris was playing on the computer.  In all the years of going to Indiana for Thanksgiving and other holidays, not one single time did we actually eat dinner in the formal dining room.

Duane Cole with Patrick Johnson in The Chair (November 1985)

Duane Cole with Patrick Johnson in The Chair (November 1985)

Venturing a little further there was the kitchen which my Grandma spent a majority of her time occupying.  Just past that space was a little informal breakfast nook that we ate all of our meals at.  I remember Grandma always had a stockpile of bendy straws on the table for Chris to drink his cans of Dr. Pepper from.  She often served me chocolate milk with a bendy straw.  Past this space was an informal living area with a couple more couches and a television where the family typically gathered.

Back at the front door you could go up the stairs to the bedrooms.  I think there were four of them.  One was a guest room that the adult visitors slept in.  One was Christopher’s room which I always thought had more toys than Toys ‘R Us!  He had so many fun things to play with on shelf after shelf after shelf.  Another bedroom was Grandpa’s and another one was Grandma’s.

The Romaines

Alex and Mary Romaine's House on Owen

Alex and Mary Romaine's House on Owen

When I was two my Mom’s mother, Mary Romaine, moved to an older home at 3113 Owen Street in Saginaw, Michigan.  The house was previously owned by her fourth husband, Alex Romaine.  Mom’s father, Walter Anthony Dreffs, died in 1958 when she was six years old.  He did not live with my grandmother when he passed away; they were divorced by then.  Grandma Romaine lived in this tiny house from the time she married Alex in 1979 until her death in 1994.

Alex and Mary Romaine (1983)

Alex and Mary Romaine (1983)

When you walked into the home, you entered a living room with lots of things piled all over the place.  Grandma might possibly have been referred to as a hoarder and her house was always cluttered.  She always saved the Sunday comics for me and left them in the living room.  When Mom and I went over to visit, I would sit in the living room and read the comics.  When I got bored, I would wander into the kitchen where Mom and Grandma were sitting at the small kitchen table chatting.  Grandma always had tons of magnets and pictures plastered all over her refrigerator and I would stand there and rearrange the stuff.  She had Cabbage Patch Kid magnets that I loved to play with.  One day, she let me have them.  I still have them in my box of memories.  In the back of the house there were a couple of bedrooms and a bathroom but I was never allowed to venture into those areas.

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© 2013 Jessica M. Green