The place that had perhaps the largest impact upon my childhood is my grandparents’ home in rural Louisiana. I visited there every summer for the majority of my formative years and feel as if my time there has affected me more greatly than any time at home or school. Going there was so different from the rest of my life at the time. It was almost as if I was visiting a separate reality, a place where the rules I knew did not exist and my state of being was irrevocably altered
My grandparent’s home was far removed from most of society. It was a place surrounded by woods, dirt roads, and blackberry bushes. Children were unrestricted, ran around barefoot, and played in the mud. This was also a place of family: my brother, Maw-maw, Paw-, and three of my cousins all lived there, and other relatives were constantly passing through. At home, I only had my mother, and I valued the companionship my brother and cousins gave me that my mother could not offer. Maw-maw gave me a kind and calm love that I never received at home. However, not everything was happy and joyful; there were some awful things that happened in that house, things that haunt me to this day.
Paw-: he was the one who seemed to crave my presence the most out of everyone. He always asked me to help him feed the cow, always had me sitting in his lap, always holding me in the pool, always getting me alone. He was always there, it seemed. Hovering over me, up my hair, caressing me, kissing me, touching me. His aura constantly plagued me on my visits to Louisiana, as if he continued to hover over me even when we were in separate locations, and my memories of him are what first come to mind when I think of my grandparents’ home. The smell of chlorine and freshly cut grass bring him to mind no matter where I am. I am forever plagued by the feeling of his heavily calloused hands and the sound of his gruff voice saying, “I love you, much. Don’t tell nobody ‘er they let visit no more, and won’t see your brother and cousins or Maw-maw again.”
As these memories continue to invade my thoughts and feelings, I am unable to deny the impact my summers in Louisiana have had on me. I am who I am because of my experiences there, good or bad. I do not regret going back repeatedly. I will not forgive him for the profound impact his actions have had on my life, but I will also never be able to erase the peculiar fondness that I still hold for my grandparents’ home.