Saturday, January 06, 2007


The first room I remember growing up is the one I shared with my older sister Ruth. We had the larger of the two back bedrooms with bunkbeds my father built. I recall lying on the lower bunk late at night pretending I was asleep, but trying to stay awake to see if I could fool my sister. No doubt she was fooled because she didn't think twice about it. She would sit at the big desk doing her homework. Sometimes I would say something, and she would tell me I should have been asleep hours ago. I wonder why I remember that of all things? We had these funky lamps that must have been 70s style, but I wouldn't have known. They had plastic shades and one time I left a glow worm on the top of one, to help it to light it up, and it melted.

After Ruth moved up to the 3rd floor, I shared the room with my little sister, Carol. I don't remember the transition, but I do recall disputes in that room. Carol and I played together a lot, but we also argued and once had a line drawn down the middle of the room. That didn't last for long, but I know I wasn't always eager to have her in my things.

At one point, probably when I was about 11 or 12, I got my own room. I remember wanting the front bedroom, and later hoping I could move up into the 3rd floor when my sisters vacated it, but that never happened. I got the small back bedroom with bunny rabbit paper, no doubt already 10+ years old. I, a lover of bunnies, embraced the wallpaper, but also covered the walls and ceilings with posters and pictures cut out of magazines. I remember keeping my room clean when I finally got my own room: previously it had usually been a mess with things shoved under the bed. I liked my room because it was my place with my things, a place for self-expression.

I had a few dorm rooms in college, but nothing that memorable. A semester in Slovakia brought another room, but I never stayed there because it was damp and cold, and I prefered to study in the main kitchen with a table and others. And near the tea. Junior and senior year my rooms were again shared with many people, and I only recall the feeling of the room - carpeted and dusty, usually dark because someone else was sleeping and the windows were the size of a fingernail.

When I moved to Slovakia I had a whole apartment to myself, and that place holds some of my fondest memories. I remember it light and airy. Since I had so much space to myself and relatively little things with me overseas, it was usually neat and pleasant. The bedroom got morning light coming across the fields, and the kitchen got the warm afternoon sun. Taking after a cat, I require sunbeams for good living, and my memories are in a shade of light.

I've had three rooms since coming to Atlanta. Four if you count my car for 6 weeks. The first room was small and I was there for only a short amount of time. I had actually, um, no furnature. The second room became populated with furnature...a bed, a desk at least. It became my own when I painted it a lovely shade of green. Slovak
About a Boy (Ako Na Vec) and Amelie posters graced the wall - aquired with Alanna at the Trnava movie theater. The sun came in the afternoon, and at about 4 o'clock the best thing was waking up from a nap and drinking tea in the warm light. I had lovely red-orange translucent curtains that made even harsh winter light radiant. Eventually I aquired a dresser and a bike to fill my room too.

After the 6 week jaunt in a perfectly-packed car, I returned to Atlanta and a new room, which I had already painted a lovely shade of green. I downsized my bed by swapping with someone, and packed my collection of furiture into the small back bedroom. But it is green, and decorated with lovely spreads and scarves, so I love it. And in the morning the light shines in the back windows and on Saturday morning when the light shines over the shudders and hits my eyes, I know I have slept too late (as in today).

Do you remember that Emily Dickinson poem? I'm sure I posted about it last winter, because I always think of it this time of year. "There's a certain slant of light,/On winter afternoons,/That oppresses, like the weight/Of cathedral tunes."

Here it is:

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'Tis the seal, despair,-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

1 comment:

Carol said...

I remember sharing the room with you. At one point we tried putting the bunk bed right in the middle of the rooom. You could hardly avoid walking into it when you openned the door. That didn't last long.