The Grandmothers: A Family Portrait

The Grandmothers: A Family Portrait

The Grandmothers: A Family Portrait

The Grandmothers: A Family Portrait

Excerpt

Until Alwyn Tower grew to manhood he never forgot that everyone was older than he. People remembered things not in existence now, and many of them had been born in houses which had vanished long ago.

A cabin which had stood in the melon patch had been his father's birthplace; and as a child, jumping over the heavy, downy vines, he tried in vain to find a trace of its foundations.

His uncle Jim, the minister, on the other hand, had not been born in the garden, but in a building which was now the woodshed. Alwyn asked himself how anyone could have slept in that poor shack, whose floor was the ground, trodden and scattered with chips, where the snow sifted in winter on the woodpiles. Of course when his grandmother had lain there with a baby in her arms, it must have been warm, safe, and pink, in the firelight. Now she was a strong old woman with sandy-gray hair; and only with difficulty, by calling to mind the family daguerreotypes, was he able to imagine a young mother in that vanished bed.

Alwyn's father and mother shared with his grandparents the third house on the farm which his grandfather had bought from the government when Wisconsin was a wilderness. In that house his young aunt Flora had been born, in what was now his mother's parlor, exactly below the spare bedroom papered with . . .

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