Today’s memory challenge is about a place where many of us spend much time – the bedroom. In children’s books we often see a lot of scenes that take place in the main character’s bedroom so I thought I would try to recall all I could about any of the bedrooms I had as a child.
Nana’s house on Bonifacio Street. Over the various years I lived there I had every bedroom except the one belonging to my grandmother. The one I remember first is the one closest to the front street. My double-bed took up almost the entire room. The closet had a slanted ceiling with a bare light bulb and a pull string to turn it on. The windows were the old-fashioned kind (I don’t know what they’re called) that slide up. In the winter when they were wet they would stick. The screens were old ones with holes that let in the flies.
For a short time we moved out of my grandmother’s house and around the corner to Almond Ave. Again my bedroom was the one closest to the street. I don’t remember much about it except that it had hardwood floors and I would practice slide-skating in my stocking feet. It was also the only bedroom that I remember having nightmares in. My mom would tuck me in at night super tight, so tight that I feared being able to get out of bed in case of an emergency. There was a ceiling light fixture over my bed and I would worry about the monsters that lived in the roof coming down through that light fixture and attacking me in the middle of the night.
After that we moved back to my grandmother’s house and I moved upstairs to the attic which was my most favorite bedroom ever. I had the entire floor to myself with a bedroom that had a door to shut and an huge open area for play. It was hot as the dickens in the summertime (no air conditioning back then) but I could open the windows on each of the floor and the smell of the orange trees would fill the room. I didn’t have to keep the room clean because there was no chance of anyone, other than me, ever seeing it.
Next my mom decided we needed to be on our own again so we rented an apartment over on Meadow Lane. I was in high school, going to Ygnacio Valley for one year, and my bedroom was a constant, total mess. I had a purple fake fur bedspread, wax candles a boyfriend made for me, a turntable (you know, one of those old fashioned record players before CDs, before cassettes) and a earring holder I made for myself out of a sheet of burlap material. The holes in the burlap were perfect to slid the hooks of my earrings through. The entire apartment had yellow long shag carpet. I had a phone of my own in my room, with my own number, and my mom would call me from the phone in her room to say goodnight.
That apartment didn’t last long and we moved back into my grandmother’s house. This time I had the middle bedroom which, in retrospect, seems really weird because you couldn’t shut all the doors to have any privacy. My room was the one you went through to get to my grandmother’s room. It also didn’t have a closet and I can’t remember where I kept my clothes. All I remember about that room was that I still had the purple fake fur bedspread and my piano was in the same room.
Your turn. What do you remember about the bedrooms of your childhood?
I never had my own room. When you’re the youngest of 13, your own room is just not in the cards. Even after I was trampled, I couldn’t have my own room (though then, I only shared with Rebekah, rather than with Hannah and Rebekah). So most of my bedrooms have been dictated by elder siblings.
I don’t remember posters of random people, or things like that (I think because my parents never approved). I do remember a few movie posters. Princess Bride is the only one I remember, though I’m sure there were more.
Also, there were dolls. Barbie, Cabbage Patch, My Little Pony… They lined the shelves on the walls.
And then, there were the books. Bibles for each of us. Laura Ingalls Wilder was also there, and the classics (Moby Dick, Wuthering Heights, a couple Robin Hoods, I believe Shakespeare — I even remember a ‘children’s illustrated Shakespeare’ — and there were lost of others) along side Charlotte’s Web, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was another book that made it in.
I don’t remember a lot of the details. I know that my sisters and I fought. I know they’d yell at me for leaving Legos around. I also remember Hannah walking in, when I was about 13 and seeing what I was reading (I don’t even REMEMBER what it was) and asking “GOD! Why can’t you be normal
Up until my first divorce, and I started sleeping in the living room on a couch… I never had my own room. I went from sharing with my sisters, to sharing with my husband. (Well, except for my time in ICU, but that doesn’t count!)
The first I remember was mine at Sunset Ave. only cuz it scared me half to death with it’s street light backlit tree outside my window.
Then we moved one street over to William Street. I shared rooms with my sister. Nothing stands out here except our beds went from bunk bed to two singles over the course of years.
Then we got moved down cellar. This is when things “bedroom-wise” started getting weird.
We started out in one room with a door with our dressers creating a “wall” between our beds. Then sisters and brothers “of our age” should really have our own rooms. Sister kept the room with a door. I got moved to the room outside of it.
This room had no door. When you enter our house from the back door, you have the option of turning left and entering the kitchen (which is the entry to the rest of the house). Or going straight down the stairs. At the foot of the stairs is a room that opens to your right and goes “around a corner” created by the right wall of the stairway. Ahead of you is another room with a door (now my sister’s room). And to your left is another room with a door (the wash room—home to washer and dryer and storage and workshop).
That room you entered at the foot of the stairs was my room.
It had a “half-wall” created by a bar or counter that was used in an ill-fated dry-cleaner store my folks set up for my mom’s mother. This counter had a flat side (like a bar) with stools. The other side was shelves. But you couldn’t use the bottom shelf because my bed could only fit right up close to it. It was very weird. But I was in my weird teen years and it seemed OK. I would often entertain friends on the bar side of my room. The bed side was “my hole.” Sometimes I liked my room “more” like when I saw HELP! and Lennon was sleeping in a hole in the floor. I felt like my room was like that.
But many times I hated my room. I could never be “doing anything” that I couldn’t have my Mom suddenly appear or my sister come out of her room. So, I spent as little time as possible away from my room.
My high school years were my drug and alcohol years. And my room worked out well for those times when I wanted to “see no one” before going to bed. I enter the house and call from the top of the stairway through the kitchen, “I’m home. Going to bed. Good night.” Most times, this worked.
So, “my room” was a very weird place. Good and bad.