Grandma Jane's Front Room
Book tucked under my arm, I snuck through the front door of the vast living room. Pavarotti’s voice blared from the boom box. The mood of the droll opera seemed to match Great Grandma Jane’s antiquated front living room.
My steps scuffled up a familiar musty smell. How much dust could hide in that pumpkin orange carpet? Flopping on the lumpy green couch I swung my feet up, curling my toes around the chipped edge of the lime green table before me. Its round surface was worn by years of grandkids kneeling at it, munching stale cookies or candy, and staring at the TV. Encased in a carved wooden box, that television set was fascinating. Dials and knobs lined one side; perfect for pushing, turning, and screwing around with.
Behind me, Great Grandpa’s overstuffed chair still sat, even though the man was long gone. The couch with the curved semi-circle back stood to my right. I had once hurled myself into it and banged my head against the once polished wooden trim on top. The unused fireplace had always struck me as crude. In front of it stood a metal grate, and the side shelves and mantel were spooky with the wide-eyed owl collection staring at me.
My eyes meandered over the scene, trying to imagine the original inhabitants, our town’s first doctor and his family, reclining nearby, sipping tea, and enjoying pastimes. To the left of the fireplace a servant would be working the firewood elevator. A wooden box rigged with ropes could be lowered through the floor to the basement, loaded with wood, and hauled back up. An old fashioned wonder now covered in cobwebs.
Giving up my book, I sighed, and tipped my head back. The silky roughness of the textured material on the couch itched on my neck. I’d never really noticed the ceiling before. Dark wooden beams crisscrossed a pattern on a background of cream.
Something shuffled behind me and I turned to see Great Grandma. Pavarotti finished one everlasting note, and then she switched the CD player off. Turning, she saw me. It was hard to tell whether she honestly didn’t care, or was a little annoyed at me for being there.
“I thought you were all upstairs. You should turn off Pavarotti if you don’t like it.” She always seemed to think that her opera irritated us.
“Oh, I don’t mind. I just came down here to read,” I answered.
She shrugged a little, and shuffled back to her chair around the corner.
Suddenly my stomach gurgled. The kitchen called. Tiptoeing, I collected my book and with one last look at the quaint front room, snuck back past the staircase with 17 orange stairs; through the study, containing a moldy collection of the Waverly Novels; through the old servants’ quarters; and into the kitchen.