In apartment 303 there are many reasons that you could identify this space as a place. A space where someone moves, breathes and lives but the memories of this space don’t come from this apartment, they come from the past. The past where we can thrive on the memories that once were alive. We might be able to think about what once was but we will never be able to re-live these memories but we can always hope that one day they will come alive in our dreams.
The smell of this space is so nostalgic but the instant you step out of apartment 303, that sense of emotion is swept right beneath you. This apartment is a symbol of time, symbol of change and a symbol of loss. In this 600 ft square apartment you can look around and see so many pictures that inspire thoughts of what once was happened but it is the wonderful woman who lives in this apartment that makes these pictures come alive.
I have been blessed to have a wonderful Grandmother, who helps me accept things that I cannot change. She accepts time and change with open arms. She makes you feel like you will be young forever. Yes, she does live in a tiny apartment but the instant you walk in, it becomes a huge globe of ideas, thoughts, and inspirations. For me, going to apartment 303 is like walking into a space where time stops. It’s a space where all anxieties of life go out the window, my Grandmother is a symbol of hope. She gives inspiration in a space that someone would see as a jail, but in this space she see’s it as another opportunity to do something with her life.
Apartment 303 is a retirement home where my Grandma lives, she has been living there for 6 years. Before moving into to 303, she lived in the same house for 50 years. My grandmother, like older people, accepted that she could no longer take care of a big house and made the decision to move into a place that would be easier for her to live. For myself, my Father and the rest of my family, it was heartbreaking to see her move out of the house. It was symbol of growing up and to her, it was her life she was leaving behind. Most people would be devastated to move out of place that holds so many memories but for my Grandma, it was just another chapter in her life. Every Tuesday I am blessed with the time to go have lunch with my Grandma. It is the same thing every time, we get the same order, we sit in the same place, it is a time and place that I know exactly how things will go. As an anxious college student I am always worrying about what will happen next, what I’m supposed to do with my life but when walking into her apartment, it is a place where I along with my life stop.
The table. It is the exact same table that has been in her life forever. This table is not just a table where you eat, it is a place that has shared many meals, many conversations, many late night talks, things that forever change who you are. My Grandma hasn’t had the easiest life, she was divorced and raised two children on her own. This table represents her life, it is made out of wood. Each chip, mark and stain has a story, just like her life. Every Tuesday when I make the trip to apartment 303, I see this table and I remember every memory she has shared with me that has happened here. Yes, we do eat at this table but it’s the things that are shared at this table that makes these instances special. Even though everything is the same at these meals, the thoughts and stories are always different.
The recliner. She has had the same recliner since I was born. She sits everyday and drinks countless amounts of tea and reads. This is her life, this is what she enjoys. To some people this may seem boring but to her, this is what she aspires to do every day when she wakes up. I enjoy walking into her apartment and seeing her in that chair because it is familiar. It is something that I have seen many times before. I have a picture in my mind of her sitting there at Christmas drinking tea and reading a Christmas Story or a picture in my scrapbook where I, once a child, am wrapped up in this chair sleeping. It is a small memory but to me it is a picture and an object that brings me back to reality, that even though we cannot stop time, we can always remember things and objects that brings us home again.
Photos. Everyone has photos that they love to share, my Grandma has the most awkward montages of photos on her walls. People might think the way she hangs these photos is crazy but to me, it symbolizes movement. You can walk through these awkwardly hung wall photos and realize what a great life my Grandmother has lived and still living. It starts from her traveling days, to her married life, to her children and then to us. You never know how much you mean to someone until you hear them talk about you. I remember walking into my Grandma’s apartment and hearing her speak of me to her neighbors, it was a different feeling to hear someone that you inspire to be, talk about how you inspire them. It was a beautiful feeling and a memory that will forever be stored in my mind.
This space is 600 feet, it is white, boring and has no meaning to me. But the stories, objects and the person moving around in this space makes this non-relevant space a place to me. This area makes me realize that time doesn’t stop but to make the most of the time that is left. My Grandma helps me realize that its not the space you are in, its what you make of it that defines it as a place.