I don’t know where to put this so I hope I picked the correct spot.
I have a memory from when I was a child maybe 5 years old. Although I have been told this never happened. It’s more then a dream because I don’t remember it as such. Memories and dreams feel very different.
I’m walking up to a picturesque white plantation home in the south. My grandparents and I walk up a driveway lined with trees and a sprawling green lawn on either side. We approach the front porch of the home with the grandiose white pillars. We enter through double doors into an expansive foyer. I’m Looking up at the high ceiling, in the short distance I see a second floor behind an ornate railing. Three or four doors run the length of the second floor. Downstairs to the right of us is a sitting area. White furniture and nicely dressed people sitting in conversation. I am now sitting amongst the company with my grandparents. Next thing I remember is it’s time for bed. My grandmother asks me to give everyone a kiss goodnight. A young man walks through the front door. He is maybe in his late teens or early 20’s with shoulder length dark hair and dressed in an old fashioned formal wear or his Sunday best. It did not feel old fashion in the memory but this is what gives me a clue of the time period. I walk over to give him a kiss goodnight and my grandmother says “No, not him, he’s bad”. My grandmother would tease often by calling people “loved ones” bad if they had not called her or visited her in a long time. This is the feeling I get from her but I do not kiss him and go up the long spiraling stairs to bed. I look over the railing from the second floor at the people below. I can see myself as if looking at the situation from above outside of myself.
I am in a long white nightgown and my dark brown ringlets are held back to one side with a big blue bow.
My paternal grandmother was raised in an orphanage from the age of 4-17. She was almost completely deaf due to an accident she had as a toddler. The house mother took her under her wing and taught her how to read. The Bible was often the book she spent many hours reading. She would tell me that she use to sit in the window on the top floor of the orphanage and read while Miss Maude made the beds and did other chores. Afterwards Minnie (my grandmother) would slide down the long wooden railing of the staircase. Grandmom always said she had a wonderful childhood in the orphanage.
When I was 40 years old I visited the orphanage in which she spent her childhood. I walked up the marble staircase and entered the childhood of my 90 year old grandmother. The orphanage is now a historic museum. As I walked through the home room by room I saw my grandmother eating her meals, sitting by the large fireplace, and opening Christmas gifts. She often told me of her wish for Christmas, a violin. Christmas morning each girl would receive one gift. When handed a package shaped like a violin she could hardly contain her excitement. She tore open the package to reveal a mini pinball game shaped like a violin. She was heartbroken. As I look in the showcases on display I see a violin. Did some little girl really get the gift of a violin? I come upon the staircase a see my grandmother laughing sliding down the railing. There is a chain across the stairs blocking access to the upper floor. I talk to one of the women who work here and tell her of my grandmother and how I would love to see the window she sat in as a little girl reading her bible. She informs me that upstairs is now an office and storage but she is happy to let me take a look. Walking through the rooms upstairs I pass a tables piled with paperwork and other items. I stop at one of the tables, I am struck by a rather large painting wrapped in clear plastic laying in front of me. It is a portrait of a young girl wearing a long white dress her brown locks held to one side with a large blue ribbon. The memory comes flooding back from my childhood. A childhood I can’t quite place. I look up and just a few steps away is the window my grandmother (the same grandmother from that “memory” of my childhood) sat reading her bible.