I really loved visiting my grandparents! They led a really different kind of daily life. First of all, they lived up north in Illinois. My cousins teased me about my accent which was fine. I teased them about their accent. Most of my aunts and uncles lived fairly close to each other. That meant that when we came to town we got to see tons of people. My grandparents lived in town. They had no car. They walked to where they needed to go. Or they rode the bus. Or they rode the train to other towns-like Chicago. What fascinated me the most is that they lived over a storefront. There was a business downstairs and they lived above it. They had nothing to do with the business. They just rented the apartment over it. Living over a storefront was a pretty common practice in their area.
My grandparents’ apartment was pretty big for just the two of them. The front room was a big room and served several purposes. There was a living room part with a sofa and chairs. There was a dining table that would expand a lot. When everyone was there, we hovered around 20 people. The expandable table was for the adults. Children were seated at various card tables around the room. This front room also contained Grandma’s quilting frame. I can never remember going to her house that the quilting frame was down. She was always, and I mean ALWAYS, working on a quilt for someone. The quilt was hand stitched. Every single stitch-I am not kidding-was hand stitched. I still have the quilt she made for me when I was 6. It was for my bed. I STILL have that quilt on my bed. I still use it. It is almost 60 years old! My Grandma would sit by the frame for several hours a day, making tiny even stitches on each section. They were all a work of art.
So my grandparents lived upstairs. And my Grandma quilted. So why was I so wild about this whole thing? I need to mention that the business downstairs was a bakery. Ahhhh. Every morning about 3:30, the fragrant smell of bread and yeast would float right up to the apartment. I could not sleep once I got that first whiff. About 6 am, my Grandpa would go down the back stairs and knock on the back door and the baker would give him fresh hot doughnuts. Well, what could be better than fresh doughnuts in the morning-every morning? As a child, I couldn’t think of a single thing that was better! So now you know the “rest” of my post about second story living!