When Nana and Papa Creecy moved to Keiser from the home place, they bought the brick house next door to the Grahams. I thought it was the prettiest house in Keiser. It had a very cool finished-out attic which became our hideout. Staci and I played with our barbies there and listened to music during bunkin’ parties. There was no furniture in the attic, other than an oversized bright yellow wooden rocker. The house must have been built around that rocker – it was there when they bought it. And it was part of the deal when my mother sold it, after they died. The attic stairs were super steep and small – a secret little stairwell – that chair wasn’t going anywhere. The Mystery of the Attic Chair… I’m sure had Nancy Drew known, she would have solved the puzzle. I bet it’s still there.
In junior high, the attic became the site of many, many games of 7 Minutes in Heaven…Keiser,Arkansas-Style. Our version was really more a combination of Spin the Bottle and Thirty Seconds in the Closet. We all sat in a big circle surrounding a coke bottle in the center. We turned the overhead light off – probably because we were too embarrassed to see ourselves. Understandably, this drove Nana crazy. She would flip the switch at the bottom of the stairs and yell up to the attic space, “Taaaaaaaalya!!!” We would all giggle, “Oh sorry!” like we had no idea how that light turned itself off, wait a couple of minutes, and flip the switch again from upstairs. She couldn’t (or wouldn’t) climb those steep stairs, and we knew it. We took turns spinning the bottle, and the person the bottle landed on was the lucky recipient of a few seconds in the attic closet, in the shadows.
We spent lots of weekend nights up there – our little group of friends – Becky, Anita, Trina, Craig, Graham, Judy, Charles M, Timmy and others I’m sure. It was far from heavenly, but it was the closest we had been. It was fun and different and exciting at a time when we were innocent and full of teenage curiosity. No one spoke of what went on after a turn in that closet, but I doubt there are any big secrets. Timmy was always cute and nervous in that dark closet. He was funny, but shy. A turn with Craig was like 7 minutes of Botox. He nearly ate our lips off. Ruth was likely starving him – he was always in trouble with his mom… He definitely would have been punished had she known about Nana’s attic. We each kissed everyone eventually – we didn’t care which boy it landed on. They were all like our brothers… That game of thirty seconds in the closet was our important entre into dating and eventually true love.
I’m sure young teens today have outgrown Spin the Bottle. They are too busy texting and living in an online world.
Nana was much like Lucy Ricardo – funny, always laughing and typically into some type of mischief. I think Annabelle the Schnauzer must take after her…She was strong and faithful – at church every time the doors were open. She was loved by all – including all the kids up in the attic. Even though she was sick for much of her life – brain surgery in her 20s, leukemia in her 60s and a terrible headache nearly every day in between, Nana always had a beautiful smile on her face. And something funny to say. She never tried to be funny. She just was. Everyone who came into contact with her was better for it, and I miss her every day. Of course my mother has turned into her, so she isn’t really ever very far away.
Happy Valentine’s Day & Happy Birthday Nana!
The B52s, “Love Shack”