wallpapered

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Grilled cheese sandwiches via Wonder Bread and Kraft Singles. Triple servings of homemade strawberry shortcake. Dancing on the coffee table wearing only underwear. Hours devoted to Unsolved Mysteries marathons.

That about sums up the days spent at my grandmother’s house as a child. One foot in the door and all rules disappeared. It was a kind of magical world—one that made you fake being sick so you could skip school and spend the day in paradise.

Even though grilled cheese isn’t exactly part of my diet anymore, and if I were to dance on the coffee table I’d probably be fully clothed, grandma’s house is still paradise. It’s always the perfect temperature. It has a fancy recliner that only old people are smart enough to invest in. The tissues are Puffs and not the eco-friendly ones I buy (let’s be honest, nothing feels better on the nose than Puffs). And I get yelled at if I try to do the dishes.

But the most magical part of it all is that barely anything has changed. The sugar bowl is the same. The stickers I stuck on the folding TV dinner table remain stuck. The porcelain Mickey Mouse still sits in the window sill. Kiki’s Delivery Service on VHS is still alive. Magic.

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Maybe my sincere attachment to the house makes me biased, but I feel like it has so much character. Every visit there’s always a moment or scene that makes me wish I had my camera. This happens quite often, where I’m walking along and I catch a glimpse of a picture-worthy scenario, wanting something more than just my phone to capture it. Notably the other day when I spotted two old men sitting on the park bleachers playing chess.

And days like this one, where we were wearing matching shirts and the sun was being especially kind.

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She has one cat. Three bowls of food and one cat.

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I will forever be grateful for this picture of myself in my favorite kitchen, amongst the biscotti and peeling wallpaper. A picture taken by my 89-year-old grandmother. She is the best.

Kelsey Gleason