When I think about my grandparents, distinct memories of their Florida home on Hammock Road rush into my head like ocean waves. From the moment I cross the walkway to the front door, swaying willow trees greet my face with a light brush. In their house, grandma and grandpa collected antique treasures and travel mementos. In every nook and corner you could find glassware, china, nautical trinkets and international decorations.

It seems like yesterday when I woke up to morning sunshine sleeping cozily on a sofa bed in grandpa’s den. I could also be found stretching out on a lounge chair in the tropical Florida room watching television. Sometimes I hid in a secret compartment attached to grandma and grandpa’s bedroom closet. When all was quiet, I read my favorite children’s story, The Gingerbread Man by memory to grandpa.

Pretty soon, I would hear the chiming of the old Grandfather clock as it bonged twelve times for lunch. By mid-afternoon I would chase after the wafting aroma of grandma cooking dinner in the kitchen. Occasionally, grandpa would prepare his favorite snack, toasted cheese crackers. When no one was looking, I snuck my tiny hand into the blue cookie jar to grab a soft gingersnap cookie.

However, nothing was more exciting than receiving hundreds of shiny copper pennies from grandpa to purchase a red toy motor boat. After buying it at the little island shop, I hurriedly ran home to show grandpa my nautical treasure. He was surprisingly pleased and delighted about my chosen purchase.

I remember days when I walked with them to the Anna Maria Island beach in Florida. When we arrived there, you could hear the crying seagulls as they scrounged around for nibbles of bread or crackers. The roar of the waves crashed their foamy curves against the seashore boulders. We often built colossal sandcastles and collected decorative seashells along the beach.

Later on, we would bounce around in the ocean, riding the tides in rhythm with its aquatic ebb and flow. In the afternoon, we went fishing at the Anna Maria Island Pier and ate fish and chips at Fast Eddie’s. This was a popular restaurant for locals and tourists alike because of its nautical charm. You could spot wooden anchors and fish net hanging from the walls, and large aquatic tanks filled with tropical fish, lobster, and crabs.

One evening, grandma and grandpa invited their adopted Cambodian family for dinner. While eating a delicious turkey dinner, everyone from children to adults was engaged in lively conversation. Right away, I hit it off with Serey, a girl who was one year younger than I am. Her younger brothers, Sokha, age 2 and Eleazar, 1 were enjoyable to watch as they played amicably in their chairs.

I often reminisce about grandpa’s boat rides along the river behind their house. We would glide through the water looking at the houses along the embankment as well as other boaters who went sailing by us. Grandpa would present an evening slide show of his travels to faraway places like Scotland, Holland, and England. Then, grandma would sing and play hymns on the organ. Sometimes she would even read poetry or tell childhood tales about growing up in the 1920’s.

I have many pleasant and fond memories of grandma and grandpa. I will always remember their enthusiasm for life, love and generosity toward others, and commitment to family. Although they have both passed on, their warm spirits will always dwell in my heart.

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