I’m home in Arkansas for a week or so. It’s always so good to be home, in the country, in my childhood home. Tonight I will be sleeping in my own bed, in the room my sister and I shared until I went off to college in 1980. It is super quiet and dark, the opposite of our Dallas home with sirens, lights, random gunfire and no stars in the sky.
Although the bright orange shag carpet is long gone, the room hasn’t changed much. I wonder if when the carpet was removed my mother noticed the burn mark under the bed? My friend Anita and I shoved an ashtray and lit cigarette under the bed one night when my mom came to the door, melting the carpet slightly. We tried really hard to smoke for about a week, but were never successful, thank goodness. And I doubt we ever inhaled- we couldn’t really figure it out.
This bedroom is a time capsule – like Graceland without the jungle room. But it is comfortable. My favorite paperbacks still line the bookshelf above my desk where I did my homework. My boxes of 8-track tapes are piled in a cabinet. Within the built-in drawers around the desk lies an archaeological dig, undisturbed for years, except when I occasionally sift through the hidden treasures. The deeper into the drawers you explore, the older the civilization. Letters my Nana and mother wrote to me at Baylor University, along with my college grades, are scattered on the top. Further down are high school pictures and newspaper articles. Still deeper, there is junior high cheerleader memorabilia. Near the very bottom of the dig are Valentines Day cards from elementary school parties and letters from my 4th grade classmates when I was in the hospital. I’m still really good friends with many of these classmates.
My mother sometimes talks of selling this old house. It needs work and is getting harder for her to maintain. It sits on an active earthquake fault which, over time, has caused shifting and cracking in the walls, allowing in the occasional bull snake. And there is a constant parade of field mice. (So maybe we do have a jungle room like The King…?) Even so, it will be a strange and sad day when we can no longer come back here to re-group, relax and reminisce. There is something comforting about sleeping in your own bed.
My husband had his first migraine playing the Bible Game several years ago.
The Eagles, “Hotel California”
Donny Osmond, “Puppy Love”