Friday, July 20, 2007

The smallest bedroom

Mary at Owlhaven is hosting a carnival today called My Childhood Home. As soon as I read about it, memories I hadn't dug up in years came flooding back. Some of the bad, but (thankfully) most of them are good.

I could write about the whole house...the ledge in the kitchen that I used to climb on the counter to get to so I could help Mom with the dusting...the chain link fence in the front yard that got knocked down by a car...the sandbox in back that the neighbor cat used as a litter brother's art studio in the basement that used to amaze and scare me at the same time...
But what I remember most is the smallest bedroom. Being the youngest of six kids meant an awful lot of room shuffling as the older ones moved out, and the smallest bedroom was mine for a while. But it was the last occupant that makes the smallest bedroom special for me. It was the first (and only) door on the right at the top of the stairs, and it was his.

In a different life, the room belonged to my sister. It was the only room in the house with cable, which she paid for. Subsequently, she charged us to watch the TV in her room. I remember the little rate sheet and coin box that lived next to the TV. I also remember laughing at her infatuation with Tom Selleck in his Magnum, P.I. days and her obsession with the royal wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, both of which were memorialized in that room.

I'm not sure who had it after she moved out, but eventually it fell into my hands. I remember sitting on the floor, listening to tapes of songs I recorded off the radio and being so mad that the DJs voice is all over the opening instrumental of the song. I would play and rewind a song 100 times trying to write down all the lyrics so I could look cool by knowing all the words.

I remember being allowed to have a TV in my room, an old black and white one that you had to use a pair of needle nose pliers to change the channels. I would feel so grownup as I watched episodes of V and then be too scared to go to sleep.

I remember marveling at the little whole in the floor that the cable for my sister's TV used to run out of. I used to wonder where it led to (nowhere) and if I could tunnel into my sister's neighboring room (I couldn't).

Years later, long after I had claimed another bedroom as my own, my grandfather moved into that room. He had lived in Florida for as long as I could remember but could no longer take care of himself. He wasn't with us for long; he needed assistance in almost everything and it just wasn't something Mom and Dad could handle anymore. But it was how the room looked after his short time there that stays with me.

While he lived with us, I didn't go into his room very often. It seemed disrespectful, although I know he wouldn't have minded. It wasn't until after he died that I really went in there to look around. All I remember is pictures: pictures of him and my grandmother when they were growing up in Denmark, pictures of all the grandkids, pictures of my dad and uncle, old pictures of people I didn't know but were obviously important to him. And the photo albums. They were the old fashioned kind with the black paper pages where the photos were held in with white photo corners. The pages were worn and the pictures faded and to me they were beautiful.

Mom and Dad eventually moved out of that house and took all of my grandfather's things with them. As far as I know, they still have all the pictures and photo albums. To me, that's all that's left of my grandfather.

And on the rare occasion I drive past that old house, the first window I look at is that small bedroom, first door on the right at the top of the stairs.

6 reviews:

summershine said...

Wht a lovely post about your memories. Thanks for sharing!

Gumby said...

what a sweet post.

Rebekah said...

I used to record songs off the radio and try to write the lyrics... and those pesky DJs

B said...

This post struck a cord with of six kids, me too. Writing down lyrics...totally me. And V. OMG, you brought back memories. LOVED IT, THEA!!

B said...

by the way, that was me.


Owlhaven said...

Sweet post-- thanks for sharing.