April Jeppson: Hearing the laughter at grandma’s house

Published 8:45 pm Friday, March 11, 2022

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I was working at the Senior Center the other day in my office and updating member information when I heard laughter. It was a few tables of people talking and laughing and audibly having the best time. I have no idea what they were going on about, but it made me smile.

April Jeppson

Growing up, my great-grandmother lived in a senior apartment complex just a block away from our house. I’d pass her apartment every morning on my walk to school. Often, I’d go over and visit her until my folks got home after school.

I remember going down to the common room and playing bingo with her. I won a package of Jell-O, and she won a can of soup. Everyone was always so nice to me. There would be a few people sitting on the front porch when the weather was good. There were some rocking chairs off the entrance way where I’d see ladies knitting. But the sound of their laughter echoing in that meeting hall, I remember it so clearly. Hearing that same sound the other day at work, gave me an instant flashback.

The look of a smiling face, or the sound of someone laughing, it just makes me happy. A well-timed joke, or the retelling of a funny story

There’s something about hearing that happiness, it’s contagious.

I grew up around lots of extended family. My grandmother would babysit me in the summer and some of her brothers and their wives would come over for cards. Why don’t you go into the other room and play? I believe was the expression, so I did. I’d be in the living room watching a cartoon or listening to music on the radio. They’d play for a while then they’d have cake. My grandma always had a cake or banana bread on the ready. I was always invited back to the table when the treats came out. While they were sipping their coffee, that’s when the fun would start.

Hearing my uncles tell stories and laugh so hard they cried. They could hardly finish the story because they were laughing so hard. Then they’d go back and forth and keep adding bits and pieces. As a child, I rarely understood the joke or what was so funny about what they were talking about, but I always enjoyed being there. They’d be laughing so hard that I’d start laughing and half the time I didn’t even know why.

My great-grandma has been gone for over 30 years and my grandma for over 10. I feel very fortunate that they lived close to me and I got to know them as well as I did. I know that not everyone is so lucky. I also feel blessed that I have a job that allows me to spend time with other people’s grandparents. Talking to them, hearing their stories and enjoying their laughter makes me feel at home.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.