Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Parent's Room

My memories of my parents room on Woodruff Street are as follows:

1. twin/maybe Queen-sized bed (I never knew what such designations were when I was young), covered in a white, closely crocheted bedspread that had a rough, somewhat knotty texture when you laid down on it.

2. a circular end table in the far corner that held the clock radio. I remember listening to some Atlanta Braves baseball games on that radio during the summer of 1983 when the Braves won the pennant behind Dale Murphy's hitting and the sidearm pitching of Gene Garber. Also, this circular table had a (naturally) circular drawer in the side. At my young age, I thought this drawer with its curved front was extremely special, almost hidden and secret. Perhaps this was because the table was covered by a cloth, the color of which I don't remember.

3. I do remember the color blue. Was it blue in there? Was the carpet blue or was the carpet red? And if the carpet WAS red, why do I have this association with the color blue?

4. My memory of the dresser in that room was that the top drawer held Dad's nail clipper set, his rubber change purse (the oval-shaped kind that you squeezed to make the slit pucker open to reveal the change inside), medicine bottles, colognes, watches, rings, and other odds and ends that I probably wasn't supposed to see. These things are still in the top drawer of a new dresser in their new bedroom in their different home. And I do find that I have to pause and make sure that I am remembering the correct bedroom. My mental image is sharpest for the current room. I can see it precisely and can tell you exactly where things are in that room now. My memories of the original bedroom of my youth (now approaching twenty plus years in the past) is, naturally, more hazy and less sure.

5. The closet of this old bedroom featured sliding panels of wood hang from the ceiling and can often jump off track (or maybe that is just remembering the exact same ones that I have in my house now . . .) but I do remember that if you slid opened the right (?) side of the closet, you gained access to Dad's clothes and down on the floor was his wooden shoe shining kit. I sometimes pulled that out and shined Dad's shoes for him (and later some of my own when I got old enough), rubbing on the black polish, letting it dry, buffing it smooth with the large, slightly violin-shaped brush with the fat, soft bristles, and shining up the polish with the always stained shoe rags. The shoe box kept all the circular tins of polish (various shades of black and brown), the brush, and the rags inside. You swung open the slanted rooftop sides of the box. Between the "roof" doors was the handle, topped with a rubber-like tread that could hold someone's shoe-d foot if you were working while they were wearing. But I always worked on the shoes when no one was wearing them.

Also back in the furthest reach of the closet was dad's hunting rifle. I don't know if that was always there, or if he brought it home after a Kentucky visit once we kids had reached a certain age. I wasn't even aware that it existed until I was almost a teenager. It stayed in its gun bag and I never got it out. I never saw Dad use it for anything and I have always seen it as a remnant of his childhood, when they sometimes hunted for dinner.

6. There was also a chest. (What Lynda calls a Hope chest . . . at least that is what she calls the one that she has. I don't know if Mom ever called her's by that name.) I never saw it without a small red and black, fringed rug-like top that sat on top of the simple wooden box. Inside, I think?, where extra blankets. I sometimes sat on that chest and the rug-like covering always slipped on the wood as my weight shifted.

7. There was a mirror on the back of the bedroom door. I could go in there and pretend to be Han Solo--drawing my blaster against the threat of Stormtroopers, or check out how my clothing looked on my, or simply make goofy faces.

8. There was a small bathroom in the wall to the left of the room entrance. I think the tub was on the right, with the sink in the middle and the toilet on the left as you entered. I remember the dominant colors being white and a pale yellow . . . but that might have just been the Georgia sunlight. While I didn't see this happen exactly, my favorite memory of this bathroom is that when Mom and MSquared were battling each other to solve the Rubik's Cube first, mom secretly bought a solution book without MSqured's knowledge, then practiced the sequence of turns in that bathroom so that she could pull a fast one on him one night . . . much to his astonishment and her delight.

7. In my memory, the room is always neat. The floor is tidy and everything is put away. In some ways that is the most striking memory of all regarding my parent's room. As I've proven, I did go in there, even napped on their bed at times. But it was distinctly their room and I kind of think I stayed out of it unless I had to be there or was looking for something specific.

This stands in significant contrast to how I think my kids treat Lynda's and my bedroom. The amount of stuff they leave behind, coming and going, getting ready for bed, reading books at night, listening to books at night, coloring, drawing, writing! It crawls at me, as Lynda can attest. But, I guess it shows they are comfortable with the space.

I just wish they could pick up after themselves a bit more.

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