My grandmother’s basement was perfect for reading Nancy Drew mysteries. It was the kind of basement you’d expect to find a body buried in. It was scary and exciting, and inviting all at the same time. There was a window that you couldn’t see out of because of all the overgrowth in the yard just above the window line.
It was a finished basement with a floor and paneled walls. Between the brush shadows and the paneling, it made for a very dim space. Dampness hung in the air, but that didn’t dimish its charm to a preteen girl reading mystery stories.
There were built in shelves filled with dusty books for all age ranges. I remember a lot of different blue hued books. Blue seemed to be a popular color for a book cover. None of them had book jackets that I recall.
There was a couch and a round coffee table in the center of the seating area.
There was another side to the basement that I don’t remember as well. I don’t think we went on that side or if we did it was rare. That is probably where the washing machine was and the furnace – those important things that keep the house going, but remain invisible to visitors.
There was also a door leading to the garage. It was a one car garage at the bottom of a steep driveway. It smelled of oil and gasoline, and every time we drove into the dreiveway, I thought for sure we were going to slide right through the closed garage door.
But the other side, with the books and shelves and seats, that was where we played and read and pretended. Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and whatever else came to mind.
When I think of my grandmother’s house, this is invariably what I picture in my mind.