Drawing From Memory

Always, memories of Gramma's old house are vivid in my mind.

May 20, 2002

My old bedroom at Gramma's house

Still, in dreams I awaken from this old room. The fact that on the right side of the bed, the wall in my current quarters is just that far away may add to it. But these memories are SO VIVID. This may be, too, because throughout all my years, this was the bedroom in which I've slept the most years. Since joining Laura in 1987, we've moved AN AWFUL LOT of times.

It's vividness, I can see it now, though fuzzy edged. I remember the wooden floor, which creaked sometimes. Not with a worrisome unstable kind of creak, just the creak that let you know many footprints had crossed those floors over the years. A couple of fluffy oval rugs warmed that floor to the feet that met it on chilly mornings, either side of the bed.

The bed frame and the small end table were both painted the same light blue shade. The bed had been designed to have a canopy over it, thus four tall posts jutted up vertically from the four corners of the bed. They were there to merely assert their existence in space, as they held nothing up.

To the left of that end table, I had a fairly large cork board on the wall, to pin whatever I might on it, a nice gift from my Dad one Christmas. Various drawings, photos, were attached to it with thumbtacks. On the southern, really I am not sure where 'True North' was, I'm just picking a direction, door which opened into the living room, a triangular clothes rack hung. I packed that device thick and heavy with clothes, most of which I made myself.

I made them, using the ancient sewing machine by the eastern window. It was painted black, and was one of the first electrics. What a nice co-incidence that my current machine, though of industrial strength and size, is also painted black and one of the first electrics. That old machine was far more reliable than the plastic covered things produced today. Although possessing no fancy stitch capacity, I preferred it to the newer one my Dad got me one Christmas.

Gramma had her clothes in the dark brown metal clothes closet, though my ever-enlarging collection of clothes had begun to encroach into her territory as well. Her bedroom, which was in the front section of the house, originally had been Grampa's work office. He had been an insurance salesman. There were no walk-in closets on this level of the house.

There HAD been, however, many years ago. The northern door of my bedroom opened into the bathroom, which before the days of running water, had been a closet. Yes, this WAS an old house.

They don't build them like that any more, with basements, and tall ceilings. Today, the ceilings are all low. The three of us were discussing that the other day. All the dwellings today feature low ceilings. ''Like small caves,'' Laura declared.

That is something few people coming up in the world today get to experience.

How I love going back in my mind, and remembering those old days. I like holding them, almost tangible. I was young then, and the first fevered dreams of youth coursed through my mind in this very room. I wrote my first poems in this room. Oh, the discoveries I had made, in this room.

The BOOKS I'd read, stretching my mind to worlds beyond, in this room. Some of those books stretched me where Gramma had preferred my mind not go. Thus, I read, ear ever eagle-vigilant to possible footsteps entering that bathroom. Should I hear them, contraband book would be tucked under my pillow, and I'd pretend to be asleep.

Gramma must have thought I'd slept an awful lot! Perhaps each succeeding generation goes through something similar. Each generation steps out into the world, determined to find something different from what those who came before did.

I want never to forget this room. I think I never shall.

© Joan Ann Lansberry
Go back to 'Like Fabled Heroes'
Go forward to 'Marcher Girl'
Return to 'The Essential Joan'