Crozet, Virginia: the place that taught me early on that words do not sound as they look. Crozet: CROW-ZAY (really wishing there was a rapper with that name).
Crozet, Virginia: the one place that stays constant. I counted it up and realized I lived in 9 different houses growing up. The white, black-shuttered house in old-town Fredericksburg, Virginia now qualifies as home after 11 years of my family living there-but the wide-porched, blue trimmed house on St. George Avenue in Crozet, Virginia is the only place to have seen me from cross-eyed, chunky baby to lazy-eyed, long-legged 23 year old.
So here’s a post dedicated to homeyness and nostalgia. I’ve been in a foreign country for almost 11 months without visiting home so JUST YOU GO AHEAD AND JUDGE ME. SEE IF I CARE. Immabe as nostalgic as I please.
If your last name is Copeland, you’ll get this post 150%. If not, you’ll hopefully smile at least once.
On the front porch there´s a swing that´s rocked back and forth against the rhythm of many shouting laughs and many whispering tears.
To the left of this wood swing is an outlet. This is not just any outlet. It is an unnecessarily protruding, dull grey outlet that has never been used as anything but an instrument of torture. How torture? Well let me tell you. Some of my earliest memories consist of shouting and shoving matches with cousins over who would be the unlucky one to sit on the left arm of this big wooden swing. The unlucky loser of aforementioned shouting and shoving match would be relegated the left arm of the swing – precisely where this outlet became a potential bruise with each front and backward motion. You had better believe that whoever lost the fight and ended up on the left side was sending up a prayer with each swing that the outlet wouldn’t find their leg. So I´ve clarified that the left side was cursed, but the glory of the right side of the porch swing must not be underestimated. The right arm of the porch swing guaranteed free leg-kicking and pure joy for a fat 4 year old. Somehow Grandma always ended up in the middle of the swing-her hymns and West Virginia tunes making even the left side of the swing worth the risk.
In the kitchen I´ve eaten my body weight x 50 in pies and my body weight x 100 in Grandma´s crispy-topped mac & cheese.
The kitchen table is synonymous with kids’ table at any family gathering. I could be 97 and I’m convinced I’d still end up seated at this table. Each cousin has fought for the spot next to Grandpa (on his left) since it’s always across from Grandma (on his right). Each cousin knows to converse with Grandpa in something just below a bellow during meals since his hearing aid is out. Each cousin knows Grandpa will eat anything that is on his plate and has at some point been sure to sneak the lima beans from their plate to his.
The kitchen was the destination of many sleepy-eyed, sleepy-headed 5:00 am mornings. My cousins and I all knew that Grandma was a human who did not sleep. Or if she did it was only when we tried to convince her to watch a movie with us. So what does a Grandmother who does not sleep do? She bakes bread. It didn’t matter how early you woke up-Grandma always beat you downstairs and always had her 17 bread machines filled with rising dough. I remember my cousins and I vying for the earliest waker award. Who would be the first up to spend those precious morning hours alone with Grandma? I had my fair share of wins and my fair share of losses. I vividly remember the horror of waking up to a full sun – panicking at the thought that Stephen had had Grandma all to himself for at least 3 hours by then.
I’m so thankful to know a place that has a parlour. The word “parlour” sounds insufferably pretentious and this room did its best to live up to the name. Something about this room was just a bit more hallowed than any other in the house. Maybe it was the fact that the furniture wasn’t quite comfortable enough. Maybe it was the piano. Oh wait-it was definitely the piano. Grandma would force me to the piano for a full-blown classical concert with each guest that entered the house. So it’s my fault. The pretentious parlour is all my fault. Glad I figured that out.
But then some nights pretentious parlour filled with warm night glow. You know-the kind where you know anyone walking by is peaking in and wishing they were inside of all that gold yellow light. These nights were usually the ones when Grandma was making us sing hymns. Mom or I would be sitting at the piano. Other relations were a real toss up – but the most common postures were eye-rolling, bellowing with gusto, or some alternating combination of the two.
Oh man. These stairs are the BEST. Upon these remarkably un-squeeking stairs sits the world’s most dependable bannister. Did you know a bannister could be dependable? No? Well now you know. This bannister is as sturdy as they come. Whether our parents or grandparents knew it, this banner has been slid down hundreds of times by my cousins and I. Come to think of it, our moms and dads probably did the same. So now we’re up to thousands. This indefatigable bannister has held a few thousand thrill-seekers and still refuses to wiggle even the little babiest bit.
Layers of soil down are the blood stains of football heroics. Often locked out of the house – waiting for the next meal hour when the door would be unhinged – my cousins and I became something along the lines of PROFESSIONALS at good ol’ tackle football and any variation of football that could be thought of. Many knees were scraped. Countless ankles were twisted. One tree was run into (many times).
Next to the garage is the scar of the pond I managed to convince my cousins would be a brilliant addition to our newly constructed bamboo fort. So we grabbed every last shovel from the shed and dug a big ol’ hole. An oasis for a week, this tarp lined, hose-filled body of water quickly developed into a mosquito breeding ground that nearly gave our dear Grandfather a heart attack.
Well, there’s Part 1 of Nostalgia by Hannah Copeland. There’s always more to be said. Didn’t even get to the living room, peach orchards, Mint Springs, un-fenced farm pastures, Dollar General, OR Crozet Pizza. So future post, HOLLA.
A few more photos just for good measure:
Dear Copeland family as a whole: I miss you all and will be back for Christmas – I swear on the sacred peanut brittle of Aunt Lucy!