Lit Fest 2015 – Exercise 2

It’s the Fourth of July in rural Western New York. The family is gathered at the grandparents’ house, the house the mother grew up in, only a mile down the road from their own. Both grandparents are still alive, although the grandfather won’t be much longer. The family doesn’t know this yet, but they are preparing for it. The homestead that had sheltered three bookish children in America’s golden age of microwave ovens and color television and the lingering threat of nuclear war now boasts an upstairs rental unit that bolsters the income the pensioners receive from the tenant-occupied cottage out back and the Social Security checks promised to all Americans of a certain age since 1935. The tenants are transient but the property division is not. It will only increase with time as the front of the large house is sectioned off into an efficiency and more of the expansive yard is bulldozed for parking. The grandparents’ belongings, when he has passed on and she is passed off to the care of a nursing home, will be consolidated into basement and garage, and later just the garage, and then they will be nowhere. But tonight, the children are free to roam around and the garage is still a garage in function, not just name. Continue reading →