We didn’t have a second floor yet. Our house was almost surrounded by trees, some were really big wood apple or bael and mango trees and the small ones kind of formed bushes and shrubs. The bushes concluded into a mound and the mound into a field to the east. It was where my friends and i would play every afternoon. Our house used to have a steeper stoop to the front porch and it was all red in color with enough space to congregate and chat. This activity was a staple back in the days for those sitting as well as those passing by especially on warm summer nights and weekends. The porch was engirdled by half wall and half grille. My granddad would sit in an armchair on there or on the stoop almost all day and would have a little chat with neighborhood folks. Some of them would even drop by to have a longer conversation and cup of tea.
My granddad had a very specific routine of things that he would follow everyday. He used to wake up very early in the morning and had a specific time for eating. He would take two wooden seats to have lunch, one where he would keep the plate on and another where he would sit. When my brother and I were merely rug rats he would take us to the school sometimes, a time that resides in a very grey and rusty part of my memories. I still, sometimes, try to hypothesis the color of the backpack we had back then that he had bought us. One was stripped and red and another one was black and somewhere in between cyan and blue. A precious piece of memory, now it seems.
The bushes and the mound are gone now, they have been civilized and the field has turned into a giant house. The bael trees were cut down almost 16 years ago. I remember how after a rain and storm the field was crowded into by scattered wood apples and water and how there was a sheer happiness in playing into that dirty water. It had happened a lot of times that the rain would kick in out of nowhere while we were playing and the trees would shelter us from getting wet. Our neighbors believed to witness primal spirits on those trees under a full moon on a summer night. They are probably long gone by now or maybe watching over from afar, I believe.
Remember Henry Lee Church, The aged ex-British soldier from the American Revolutionary War, who was noted for his porch sitting in sight of the train station. And how the town Hundred in Wetzel County, West Virginia was then named after him, as his nick name was “Old Hundred.”? Whenever I come back home at night I feel my grandad is still sitting on the porch waiting for us to come home as he would always do. The only thing is that our house wasn’t named after him, it was named after his beloved wife and we do not have a single photograph of her and she passed away so long ago that for me and my brother the very concept of her is limited to the name of our house.