Sunday, August 2, 2015

Ode to Grandma and Grandpa's House, by Sarah

Tomorrow marks the final clean out of 395 E 600 N in Logan, which for over 50 years has been the home of John and Norda Emmett. Over the past few months the Emmett clan has slowly cleaned out the large house. Mom often lamented that she was leaving lots of drawers and closets to clean out--she did. One day in May the six kids took turns dividing up the treasures. It was a happy, non-contentious event. Once the main items were selected, the rest of the household contents were happily claimed by family members on Memorial Day or when they came by to clean out another closet or drawer. No need for an estate sale or for excessive trips to the DI (Deseret Industries) or the dump. Most everything found a home.

Each trip home from Logan brought more and more boxes of books, paintings, vases, tupperware, quilts, photos..... Last Saturday we brought the big stuff: dinning room table, stuffed chairs, bookcases, quilting frames...... This Wednesday our last two items will be delivered by piano movers: an old pump organ and a player piano. It has become quite a project to try and figure out where to put things, how to rearrange, what to replace and what to get rid off.

Late last Thursday night as I anticipated a two day trip to Logan for the final clean out, a tearful (and tired) Sarah presenting me with this wonderful poem she had just written that so encapsulates the feelings of all of us as we say good by to a place and its peoples that have been such a source of joy and comfort over the years. The things we gathered are mere symbols of the feelings of love, acceptance and support we always felt and will always treasure.

Grandma and Grandpa's House, by Sarah Emmett

What to take, What to take,
From my dead Grandma's things?
A piano from the parlor?
Her necklaces and rings?
Quilts from the basement beds
So squeaky in the night--
The beds that kept our secrets,
And forgot our cousin fights?
Toys from the playroom,
Books from the shelf,
Every tatted snowflake,
And Christmas tree, and elf?
Well worn skis and bread pans,
Garden hoes and rakes,
Furniture and dishes?
What to take, oh what to take?

Can't I take the kisses
My grandpa roughly gave?
Or the sound of grandma's stories
When we visited his grave?
Can't I take the special smell
Of soda, grass, and cars,
That always filled the big garage
And said "this place is ours"?
The sound of uncles' chatter
And friendly shouts Hello?
The atmosphere of coziness,
The winter's chilly glow?
The taste of turkey, salad, jam--
And ice cream in the heat,
Grandma's soft and sweatered hugs,
The holy Grandpa seat?
The excitement of the journey,
The final kiss goodbye?
We always spoke of "next time"

But instead they had to die.

And when I see them both again,
I'll still miss that aging hall,
Where babies cooed,
And children romped,
And John and Norda loved us all.

 "favorite uncle" Chad reading to nieces in grandpa's chair.

 Joel as Joseph

 Will as a shepherd

 John William Emmett and William Blaine Emmett in the "holy grandpa seat."

80th birthday

Sarah and cousins.

addendum: a few more photos from the last day.

Watching this last pool game is when I really teared up. I remember when I was young like this and a whole was cut through our garage wall so the table could bypass the dog leg in the stairs and be brought down into the basement.

 The last supper in the home (by Jake Emmett)

 Followed by one last evening of swapping funny and touching stories.


  1. Just so Sarah knows, I cried too when reading this. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for making me cry! What a wonderful house it was. I will miss it.

  3. And I think we all need hard copies of the poem. It was perfect

  4. Nice poem, Sarah. You definitely evoked a special feeling for a special place. I know your grandparents would be very happy that you feel the way you do. They worked very hard to make that home a haven, a place of fun, warmth, safety, and love for their children and grandchildren. Chad, by the way, I love the photo of you in the big glasses reading to the kids in your father's chair. THAT's the Chad I remember. Condolences on your loss -- not just of your parents and grandparents, but also of the home they lived in and shared with their children, grandchildren, and many other family members for so many years.

  5. Wow, Sarah. Wow, Chad. I don't even have the words...but I'm so glad you did.

  6. Wow, Sarah. Wow, Chad. I don't even have the words...but I'm so glad you did.

  7. Another count for crying here.... Loved this. I'm so glad we all have such fond memories of such a wonderful place. Every thing in that house was so special because of those memories. Beautiful words, Sarah!