The Grey House – Haibun Thinking – November 7, 2014

The old grey house kind of leaned slightly out of kilter. Looking at it you’d almost think it’d collapse like a deck of playing cards.  The old woman lived there by herself.  To my eyes of 9 she seemed to be an ancient witch, though to my eyes, she would have been in the white witch category.

That summer she sat on the old wooden slats that were the steps into her house … they were grey like everything else about that house.  She’d smile at the us as we raced by with our bicycles, who knew what she was thinking.  One day I decided to stop and talk to her for a moment.  My Uncle, who was actually a year younger than I, reluctantly stopped too.

She stood up and said: “Howdy, nice to see ya.  I’ve got some cookies on the table.”  Just as though she’d known us all her life.  We went in with her. There wasn’t much to see, an old wood burning stove, a table with two chairs an old rocking chair, a few shelves, and a closet next to her bed with a curtain along side it, which she drew when we came in.

She didn’t have a refrigerator, in fact thinking about it later, I realized she probably didn’t have electricity in the place either.  Although it was summer, there was a fire going in the old stove and an old metal tea-pot bubbling away.  I wonder now where her sink was, because I don’t remember seeing one at the time.

We sat drinking tea and eating cookies and she rambled on about her life; the people who used to live nearby but went “out west”, the depression, the war and her husband who never came back home from the war, the closing of the paper mill. She seemed to be talking to herself more than to us. She was caught-up in her memories, we were there to hear her testimony of what had been.

We finished eating then we said our goodbyes, she gave us a kiss on the cheek and a few more cookies to take with us.  It was sort of weird  to be kissed by that withered old lady … her skin was so dry and wrinkled and she had an odd perfume about her … she smelt like old flowers.

A few days later, she died, just like that.  She’d seemed so vital when we’d seen her, she certainly didn’t seem sick. When I asked my Grandma why she’d died, the only thing she said was that the lady was very very old.

Her grey house was torn down not even a week after her funeral. Nothing remained to say that she’d lived there.

an old grey house
memories her companions
– now lost forever

(c) G.s.k. ’14


“All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain.”
~ Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)


Linked to Haibun Thinking

16 thoughts on “The Grey House – Haibun Thinking – November 7, 2014

  1. Oh my goodness … how tragic … no explanations, no sign that she’d been there … nothing! Other than your haibun … and thank goodness for that. The poor, lonely old woman. Thank goodness you and your uncle were there to cheer her last days a bit.

    Really felt this piece, Georgia —


  2. I wonder if she was just waiting around to tell someone. To let them know and to make sure her memories didn’t die with her. A was enthralled with this


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