Emily adored her grandma, and she spent every June with her. At the end of each school year, she flew to her Grandmother's house like a bird flying from the cold chill of winter to a warm haven. Grandma's house was her sanctuary, her safe place where she could just be a little girl. Her grandma was sweet, and attentive and she loved Emily. Emily absorbed all of the goodness of her grandma. During that month, she did what Grandma did as she watched her every move during the day, no matter how small the deed or task. Emily bathed in her grandma's love, storing it like fuel to get her through the atmosphere of cruelty that faced her when she left the insulated adoration of her grandma, and returned home.
Grandma's house was a wonderful backdrop in which to express her vivid imagination. The house was old and grand, and filled with interesting nooks and crannies where Emily could play. It had all the rich character of an eighteenth century home. The house had arched doorways, built in cabinets made of beveled glass, a carved columnar that hid the murphy bed where Emily slept. Walking into the house, guests were greeted in a large foyer with an enormous walnut table where her grandma displayed her baked goods. The smells were intoxicating as fresh baked bread, apricot pastries, and lemon meringue pies lined the table. Emily loved to run from room to room, her imagination stimulated by the intrigue of the antique carved tables, victorian paintings, and the oriental rugs. Grandma's exquisite touch was everywhere from the floral cloisonne, to the tapestries that she designed herself. It was magic for Emily entwined with joy, as she ruled the manor during that wonderful month. Long hardwood hallways led to massive bedrooms with four-posted beds, and pink-tiled bathrooms with monogrammed towels. A heavy brocade curtain set in an alcove in the library when pushed aside, led to a spiral staircase with enormous bedrooms with built-in bookcases that held all of grandma's classics from Shakespeare to the Greek tragedies.
Stepping out of the house was like walking into a sun drenched garden from heaven. There was a wrap-around porch in the front filled with geraniums and intricately carved benches, and cast iron tables. The centerpiece of grandma's yard was her vast and fragrant rose garden framed with carefully laid brick. Grandma loved her roses, and she had every color and every fragrance, importing them from Europe if they were not native to America. Walking down the long driveway was a pagoda, an elaborate enclosure of latticework and flower boxes, with a gold and white marble floor. The room was inviting with its overstuffed floral chairs, and the long chaise swing that beckoned you to take a long nap. Beyond the pagoda was an iron gate, which led to a cactus garden juxtaposed with fertile fruit trees of apples, lemons, oranges, and apricots. This was grandma's favorite part of the yard, where she harvested the ripe and plentiful fruit to make her pies and pastries.
During those Junes, Emily took it all in, and loved with all of her senses. She stored the visions of beauty around her, the smells of grandma's cooking, and the sweet words spoken to her by grandma. Emily felt strong and joyful during that month. She needed the freedom and predictability of summer to prepare for the dread of autumn when she left her grandma, and returned to a dark abyss called home, a home that for young Emily would shame the walls of hell..........