to heaven? Climbing my grandmother's stairs was like being on a divine journey. All the ventilation you ever needed happened when you went upstairs in casa Adeline Pinckney Gregg. An eastern wind took over and it balanced itself with the western breeze happening on the lower level; when you get to the upper level with all the windows on the eastern side--it is like your own piece of heaven; I called it the "upper rooms". Every time I went upstairs in my grandmother's house, it was like climbing a steep mountain and the reward was a one-way lottery ticket to heaven. Once at the top of the stairs, you were in the middle bedroom where the grandchildren slept, except for me--I slept in the front bedroom just left of the middle bedroom. The front bedroom was my grandmother's room--it is where she told me the most amazing stories. To this day, I don't know if the stories were true or not but I don't care; my grandmother's stories gave my mind and heart a reason to go on. She told me how the "Pinckneys" were descendants of ours and they were the signers of the United States Constitution. She told me about a woman named Affra Harleston Coming, the widow of John Coming who was first mate on the ship Carolina; it was the first ship to land settlers in the Carolinas and they received a grant for a portion of land in the town called Charles Town--9 Coming Street is a piece of that land. She also told me there is no such thing as having a typical southern experience when you are from Charleston, South Carolina; our background includes the English, the Spanish, the French, and the Native Americans; but our ancestors came from West Africa and even though we don't know their names--they know us and whatever we do, we should make them proud.
The backroom, past the middle room was my grandfather's room. It was attached to the bathroom which was not a part of the original design of the house. I asked my grandmother: "Why does your Johnny Gregg (that's what she called him--my Johnny Gregg), not sleep with you in your room? Her answer: "He does but that's grown folks business." My grandmother always knew what to say and how to say it. She, her house and her life will always have a place in my spirit, mind and body. This is Tuesday talk and 9 Coming Street is a part of my story.
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