Tuesday Memory Challenge – Your childhood bedroom

Growing up I lived in several places. There was my grandparent’s house, a couple of times.. There was the little house on Almond Avenue my mom rented for just the two of us, for a few years on our own. It was just around the corner from my grandmother’s so we were close if she needed us but far enough away for some independence. I don’t remember much about it except that it was where I was first afraid to go to sleep at night which led to me telling myself stories in my head which led, eventually, to writing.

For another short while, in my teen years, my mom rented an apartment which was right on the edge of two school districts and for some reason (okay, there was a boy involved) I convinced her to let me switch high schools for a year. I wish she had said no. After a year I went back to Mt. Diablo and I never found my niche in high school after that.

In the apartment my bedroom usually looked something like this:

The carpet is shag, of course. The bedspread was a purple fur. My mother hated it but she let me have it. There was a record player for yes, records. The globe lit up. There’s a bottle of perfume on my dresser which was the first perfume (maybe the only) ever given to me by a boy.  My earrings were hanging from a piece of burlap. I made that earring holder myself. I made most of the earrings too. My mom had finally given up on telling me I couldn’t wear dangles. The hairpiece was for skating competitions and the clothes on the bed were skating outfits.

I can see an e.e. cummings book on the bottom shelf and Rod McKuen’s Listen to the Warm (the small orange book) on the floor. On the far right there’s a giant Troll doll and, if you look carefully, there’s a purple wax castle candle that a boy made for me. (Not the one that gave me the perfume but the only football player I ever dated.) The bulletin board is filled with quotes and pieces of poetry and probably notes from a boy. (Not the boy who gave me the perfume – he didn’t do notes. And not the boy who made me the candle – he barely talked, let alone wrote notes.)

This is a room where I spent a lot of time alone. A lot of time crying over the aforementioned boys and many others. This was the room I ran to when Matt Blake made a fool of me at the Junior Prom. This was the room I hid in when someone TPed the front door of the apartment (and not in a nice way) and no one ever owned up to it. This is the room where I wrote a lot of poetry. This is the room where I stood between being a child and a young woman.

But it is not the bedroom I remember most and best of all.

My favorite bedroom growing up was when we were back at my grandmother’s house and I had finally grown old enough to have the only bedroom upstairs. It was almost the attic, but not quite. I think they called it a story and a half. You went up the very steep stairs and there was a long room that we used for storage and a finished bedroom. Before the bedroom, off to each side, was the actual attic where we stored the Christmas decorations.

The wide open space before the bedroom was my playroom. I could be as messy as I wanted to and it didn’t matter because no one ever really came upstairs. I was able to use it as a playroom for a long time before I was old enough to actually move upstairs for sleeping. I did countless craft projects up there, string art and those purses where you glued on fake stones. I drew, poorly but I drew. Did puzzles and spent a lot of time making things up because most of the time I was up there alone.

I loved having my friends over for tea parties. (Debbie, Leanne, me and Linda)

If you look close at the top of the picture you’ll see that if Leanne had moved back, her head would have hit the roof. And you can see one of the little doors to the actual attic. Chatty Cathy is hanging out in the high chair and Little Kiddles are on the floor. I only have to look at this picture to remember so many things about being ten years old.
I can remember when my uncle took my Chatty Cathy doll with him on a trip and I never got her back. I can remember getting the big doll that is standing next to me when I was in the hospital to get my adnoids out. I look at Debbie and i remember the Puff the Magic Dragon episode. I see Leanne and I remember playing Batman and Robin. And Linda, Linda used to live next door to me, for a little while. Her parents owned The Sun and Moon,  the local Chinese restaurant, and when I was sick they would bring me my favorites, fried won tons and fried prawns. My mother always said it would make me throw up but it always made me feel better.

I loved that upstairs bedroom. There were two windows, one at each of the long ends. If I opened the one in the storage area I could see and smell and almost touch one of the three orange trees that lined the driveway. If I opened the one in my bedroom I could look out into the Tuey’s backyard where Linda’s grandmother hung strange things on the clothesline, like the vegetables they grew in the garden to use in the restaurant.

There was no heater upstairs so winter was cold. The only heat I got was from one downstairs, one of those floor ones with metal grate. It was right at the bottom of the stairs and there were doors on all four sides of it. In the winter time my grandmother or my mother would get up, turn on the furnace and then close all the doors except the one to the upstairs so some of the heat would find its way to my room. In the winter time I would stand on the grate until I felt the heat through my slippers and I burned waffle marks in the bottom.

Your turn. What do you remember most about a bedroom from your childhood?