punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

  • Mood:

Some more vivid memories. My House: Part 1 - My Room

Recently, a trip down memory lane to my first concert brought up an interesting point by shuttergal's comment about how vivid some memories are. I thought about other vivid memories I have of specific events.

My room as a kid, for instance. I had many rooms until 1974, when I got the bedroom on the basement level of the house. It was the worst room in the house as far as location. To get to it, you had to go down stairs, hang left to make a U-turn past a storage closet and a bathroom, and mine was at the very end. It was below my mother's "den," which was kind of her home office, even though she "only" did housework and stuff (and there's nothing shameful about that). It was the smallest bedroom in the house (10 x 8 feet), which made sense when I was about 5, but not so much when I was 18. It was the lower left corner as you faced the house, and both windows were about 5 feet up the wall, narrow, and faced the ground outside. It was very much like a basement apartment. Sadly, a lot of foliage blocked the windows in the form of evergreen bushes that never got trimmed, so sunlight only reached a few odd spots here and there, and only during certain times of the year. I had huge sun-catching crystals to maximize those spots from about age 12-18, so when the sun had set just right to peek a ray of sun in, my room was filled with rainbows.

My room was always damp and mildewy. This was due to poor sealing on the builder's part; the only thing separating me from dirt was a gray brick wall on a cement slab and a layer of soft drywall that slowly rotted away as the years went on (despite 2 fresh coats of paint and new carpeting while I lived there). When the mildew circles got big enough, a firm push on the walls facing dirt would expose the cement brick behind like pushing through soft filo dough. Various accidental bumps left divots and actual gaping holes in some places. These were covered by me over the years with more and more posters, pictures, and furniture. Sadly, I shared my room with various creepy crawlies that one finds in rotting logs and caves: pillbugs, cave crickets, field crickets, cave centipedes, garden centipedes, wood ants, assorted beetles, and some bugs I didn't know what the hell they were. Some were just alien looking. Most were small, the biggest I saw was only about 2 inches long, and while they weren't very common (about a dozen or so a year), try waking up to see one of these (warning, scary) on the wall next to your head. Those suckers are FAST. As the house settled, the ceiling cracked a little (at least the paint did), and in my head, I used to make patterns from them.

My room started with two dressers (one with a set of shelves on top), a nightstand, a 25 watt lamp, and a twin bed complete with headboard. By the time I was 18, my room looked like a storage closet for wayward furniture and books, even when neat and tidy (a standard teen rarity). The only thing that got lost was the headboard, which was made from a hollow plastic and cheap particle board. It was tossed when I was about 10. The best way to describe my room is to start with me lying in the bed, which was in the far right corner as you entered. As I close my eyes, and remember the last room pattern I stayed with, the layout is so familiar to me, it fits like a glove.

My bed was a bare metal frame, an old twin mattress and box spring, and under it was assorted junk. When I was smaller, and my father was really abusive before the county got involved, I used to hide under that bed and push the junk and an old comforter to the edge so someone looking under the bed would think "no one could fit under there with all that junk, and certainly not a fat 12-year old!" But I did. I am not sure where my father think I went, I guess he sort of assumed I went outside. Once he poked under the bed with a broom handle, but it either went over my body, or poked me hard in the stomach, which I tightened and squeezed an old squeaker toy to make it seem like he poked some random stuffed animal. There was no way he could have gotten on the floor to look, I had put the bed in such a way it was surrounded on 3 sides by two walls and a dresser, and the exposed side only had enough room for sideways foot traffic due to a low entertainment center and floor lamp, which was later replaced by a fish tank stand.

On the wall to my left was a giant National Geographic Map of the United States. behind my head was a Dungeons and Dragons poster. Spare areas of the wall were covered with dragon pictures from a 1983 Dragonlance Calendar (and later, also a 1984 calendar). There were also funny street sign spoofs like "Senate Chamber [No disrobing]" and "Warning: Dragon crossing." At the foot of my bed was a huge six-drawer dresser with a set of shelves on it. The dresser contained all my clothing, except for the bottom two, which had assorted junk. The shelves contained a huge array of prized knick-knacks like novelty items (for example, Loch Ness Monster Soap: turns the water dark green and then sinks to the bottom of the tub), Lego models, assorted paperbacks, and D&D books. The dresser ended with my trash can in a space that allowed the door to swing inwards.

My door had an interesting history. Originally, it had a lock. But my father didn't like the idea I could lock a door, so he removed the lock part, but that broke the doorknob in such a way that you couldn't open the door from the inside without pulling it to the side. Finally, the doorknob fell off, and all I had was a hole. After the child abuse trials, I stole a seldom-used doorknob from another door in the house (part of an accordion door in the rec room), and swapped it with mine. From the outside, it looked the same, but now I could lock the door. That wasn't too bright: my father could have broken the door down if he wanted to, and I would have been trapped since the basement windows were too small for me to crawl through in an escape attempt. Luckily, it never came to that. When I was about 12, my mother painted a jungle scene on the back with glow-in-the-dark eyes, so when the lights were out, several pairs of eyes looked back at me. That may seem creepy, but I LOVED it! I wish I had taken the door with me when I left home. I wonder what the new owners thought when they saw that in 2000?

Dude, I should totally do that to my den door now! Hah! Any artists want to volunteer? I'll pay you in food...

Anyway, to the right of the door was a tall mirror nailed to the wall. I got this when I was 12 or so, and it was kind of creepy because I swore to God I saw "things" in the mirror. Like moving shapes and stuff. Maybe I was nuts, but mirrors have always made me uncomfortable, especially in the dark.

Next to that was a closet with accordion doors that eventually broke apart, so it was more of an alcove. In there was my drafting table (back when I did art), my entire writing collection in spiral notebooks, and boxes and milk crates of junk stacked poorly on top of one another.

Facing opposite of that was a standard desk. I had it in such a way that I could swivel around and either be at my drafting table or the desk. That whole alcove area was my "creative area." It had a lamp on it, and depending on the years, it once had a 10 gallon fish tank, a 20 gallon fish tank, Lego models in progress, or an electric typewriter. On the wall going to the right of my room was a 3-drawer dresser that once contain my greatest Lego castle masterpiece, but after that was killed by an angry cat, a 20 gallon fish tank. The three drawers contained enough Legos to fill a 20 gallon tub (I now have about 3 times that), sorted by color. To the right of that was a small bookcase that contained most of my D&D collection (modules, maps, and assorted stuff... the other shelf had hardbacks only). Going along the back wall, I had a long and low entertainment center that ended with a night stand my my head of the bed. The nightstand had a lamp and an "all-in-one" el-Cheapo Yorx stereo system that functioned as a radio, record player, cassette deck, and a way to record my cassette letters to Neal. Also to the right of my bed was my huge 35 gallon tall fish tank and stand and a floor lamp. Later, I would have a small black and white TV as well.

Along my walls were various posters, novelty signs, and many maps of the world and localized maps like Canada, Europe, and Central America. To conceal the room wall more, I hug tons of stuff from the ceiling: from a Goodyear Blimp to an inflatable shark. I had stuffed parrots and mobiles of reflecting fish. I mean, look at it! This photo was taken from the door area.

My room was my home. I rarely stayed very long in any other part of the house. The kitchen if I had to cook... and that's about it. If I was in the house, 95% of the time, I was in that room. Our house was fairly large: a four-bedroom house with two master bedrooms, three bathrooms, a huge rec room that could be divided by some accordion doors if you wanted to, two working fireplaces, a large living room, laundry room, and an almost full attic. But I would be in my room.
Tags: childhood, house, room
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded