This post is part of a series inspired by prompts from the book 642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. If you want to play along, write your own post (on your blog or other online forum) and post a link in the comments. I’ll add “shout-outs” at the end of my post and on the Keep Swimmin’ Facebook page to anyone who shares a link.
The prompt: #89: Three objects from your childhood bedroom
I remember childhood in a gauzy, foggy, maybe-it-was-a-dream sort of way. There are parts of my childhood memories that might have actually been seen on episodes of The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family or Family Affair. They might have been real, or that might have been Jan’s life, or Buffy’s (no, no, not the vampire slayer.)
But there are a few things that I feel fairly confident are my own actual memories. Mostly because no TV writer would make this sort of stuff up.
In my room, right under the window with a view of the open carport and the omnipresent mass of kids playing in the driveway for our row of townhouses, I had, for some nonspecific length of time, a pet turtle. I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember how long he lived with me. But I remember he was there. In a little open bowl sort of thing with a faux island in the middle and a faux pond surrounding him. He was tiny like the one in that picture there. I don’t think he had a tree.
I liked to take him out of his faux pond and let him wander around my room. He was a free range turtle and enjoyed stretching his little legs.
But then one day I sort of forgot that he was free ranging. As I wandered around my room, doing important 10-year-old-ish things no doubt, I wandered close to the window and there was a CRUNCH under my foot.
A sickening, tiny-turtle sized crunch.
He (I assume it was a he) lay there, probably stunned, I thought. Certainly one little crunch wasn’t SO bad.
I picked him up and put him back on his faux island and thought maybe after a little break on the beach he’d be OK. But not so. The next morning, he was strangely stuck to the island. Dead as a turtle who has been rudely stepped on can be.
And then there wasn’t a turtle in my room anymore. (I don’t know how to smoothly segue out of the story where I killed my pet…rats.)
I don’t actually remember what my bedspread looked like. I do remember at some point desperately wanting the rainbow bedspread where the rainbow went up the bed, crossed over the pillows, and then down the other side. I fully expected to find a million pictures of this bedspread that, in my mind screams of late 70s/early 80s girlhood, but apparently that’s just me.
I never got that bedspread, although as luck would have it, I stayed at a bed and breakfast in Rehoboth years later that had that exact bedspread. I think the rainbow had a whole different significance for the proprietors, but for me it was like living those tween dreams all over again.
Anyway, I don’t remember what the bedspread LOOKED like, but I remember what it FELT like because it had a big crunchy, scratchy spot right around the middle where I accidentally super glued my shoe to the bed and had to CUT IT OFF.
Similar to the turtle incident, I was so horrified that I had done this thing that was going to get me in SO MUCH TROUBLE. My mother wasn’t one to take footwear attached to the linens lightly. So I, with limited skill or finesse, cut my shoe off of the bed (the shoe did, for some period of time have a bit of bedspread stuck the toe – I pretended it didn’t.) Then, with a similar level of skill and finesse, I sewed the gaping hole, with glue-stiffened edges, back together and convinced myself that no one would notice.
I noticed every night. So scratchy. Like I imagine a hair shirt would be – where the discomfort reminds you of your guilt.
But, you gotta admire the will to at least attempt to fix what is broken. And the recovery was significantly better than the turtle.
The Honey Hill Bunch
Again, don’t remember how old I was. But this was in the same townhouse bedroom. At the opposite side of the room from the turtle habitat was a nice big closet. And the entire floor of that closet was filled with a village I created for these little buggers.
I don’t know how many of them I had (lots) and I don’t remember their names (thank goodness because THAT would be scary.) I also don’t remember if I had any of their legitimate accessories or housing options.
But I built them a whole world in my closet. I want to believe it was impressive. The level of detail was incredible. The one thing I remember most vividly was that for the baby’s room (I believe the rooms were made of shoe boxes), I made a tiny little powder container out of cardboard and tape – and I put actual powder in it. You are impressed, right?
Much cardboard and tape were lost to the cause of the Honey Hill Bunch complex. I can’t recall if this was one frenzied week of effort or several OCD-filled weeks or months. I know my Mom was concerned that I would never stop and that the project would seep out of the closet and take over the house.
I’m pretty sure it ended as abruptly as it began. Probably similar to my own kids, when I finally got the last floppy-legged little dude I was over it. Like The Littlest Pet Shop Project that threatened to take over my entire basement a couple of years ago. But with more tape, more cardboard, and more obsessive crafting energy.
OK – your turn. What 3 things do YOU remember from YOUR childhood room? Where are my writers?? WHERE ARE YOU?!?!?
Yay – Shannon has joined us! Woot! Her post is Brady Bunch Couch in My Room.