12 A Memory Space
We live in an apartment that used to be my grandfather’s work office.
His wooden desk was always filled with papers – important bureaucratic documents, newspaper articles about stocks and other interesting news stories that had to do with the value of things.
Where my grandfather’s wooden desk was before (and which seemed gigantic in my eyes when I was little), there’s now a dining table for six. It’s for the two of us and we use it for eating and for working. We share the space that used to be my grandfather’s alone.
Living in this apartment has a greater meaning to me than it has for anyone else. This is because of the many things I know about the apartment, its former life, how it was filled with books, facts, information, knowledge. I know something about the person who spent so many hours every week inside these walls.
One memory in particular: I remember being little and calling my grandparents. My grandfather used to answer the phone first when he was at his office. I never really had anything to tell him (at least what I remember), so I politely asked him to connect me to my grandmother as I was eager to book another appointment for a tea party. He always did without a moment of hesitation.
Big windows let in bright light from the inner courtyard. The colorful leaves of Fall paint the view from the window. Opposite the view used to be the great old black typewriter my grandfather used to write lengthy documents. It could be letters, complaints, sometimes even stories from his travels. He never used a computer, maybe never even touched one. Sometimes he let me write a few words on the old typewriter. The sound was loud in my ears but he was used to it. For him, it was the sound of efficiency.
Instead of an old typewriter on a small table we have two arm chairs with a small table in-between. The table has some books on it – modern books, fantasy books, books about the pain of growing up. My grandfather was more interested about facts than fiction, his book shelves bearing the weight of encyclopedias, dictionaries and hundreds of folders.
The more I think about my grandfather, the more I realize how little I know of him. About how he viewed the world, or what he thought we people are supposed to do in this life. What would his answers have been to the questions I’m thinking about now?
The big wooden desk, the old typewriter, the books and papers are long gone. The kitchen and the bathroom have been renovated, the old wall papers have been ripped off and the walls are painted white. Instead of an old plastic mat covering the floors there’s now a grey-ish parquet. Everything that reminds me about the history, the previous owner of the apartment is now gone.
But I guess if my grandfather’s memory is strong in my mind, his legacy, memories, documents and type-writings will live on. And maybe something of it will become a part of me. Because he was always the best player in Monopoly, and the one who returned to the home base rich as a king while playing The Lost Diamond. And I would love to be as clever as he was, even if only in board games.