Grandmom's House

By Karen Langley Martin

October 12, 2020

Grandmom's House

Our house was like a radio playing six stations at once: brothers arguing, piano keys banging, lawn mower mowing, blender blending, phone ringing, dog barking. Stepping inside Grandmom’s house was like that moment at the YMCA swimming pool when you duck your head under water and all the noise gets muffled and feels far away.

At Grandmom’s house if you looked at a photo album in the summertime, you could count on it being in the same spot when you came back at Thanksgiving. If you wanted to play the marble game, there it was: thirty six shiny black marbles, each nested in place making the shape of a fat cross on the playing board. There was never a marble missing.

At Grandmom’s house you could watch Popeye and ThunderCats. There was a glass bowl with pink roses on it and pure white sugar crystals inside. You were allowed to take a spoonful and baptize your Cheerios with sugar, turning breakfast, which was already the best meal, into dessert, which was the best of all. There were Tastykakes, one before naptime and the other waiting for you on the kitchen counter when you woke up, the peanut butter and chocolate warm and gooey.

People drive by Grandmom’s house without knowing. Then, her brick ranch, identical to a thousand others in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Now, a single-wide trailer in Tennessee. They drive by, never knowing they just passed a holy place.


Karen Langley Martin lives and writes from Durham, NC. You can find her at


Photo provided courtesy of the author.

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