Just Looking Around: part 3Submitted by FALLEN at 2010-11-11 12:20:39 EST
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Standing in the archway to the dining room, I look back at the ceiling in this front room. Running from wall to wall are decorative beams. I remember my father randomly hitting the boards with the claw of a hammer and then with the face of the hammer that had a wood screw taped flat to it. The imprint of the blows remained in the soft pine, as did the linear markings of the teeth of a handsaw. Once done and stained, from the floor you could not tell what the markings were, they simply looked rustic.
Passing through the dining room and into the archway to the left of the bird cage, I entered the den. This small room would eventually become my mother’s bedroom before she moved away. As I look at it now, my memories are of the television and my Atari 2600 game system. Many an hour of my youth was spent in the overstuffed chair in the right corner, lost in the eight bit magic. It was there that I found the dot hidden in the Black Castle’s catacombs that allowed me to see the first Easter egg in a video game.
A small built in closet was on the opposite wall and to its left the stairway.
Covered in the most god awful orange and red shag carpeting, the stairs led up to bedrooms that were also blessed with this furry horror. I remember hearing that my father got the carpet from an office that was being remodeled. The discarded staples that I would find buried in the carpet over the next few years would back up that story.
This stairway would come to hold many memories during my time in the house. As I start up the two steps, they curve off to the right from a small trapezoidal landing. To the left, at what was in essence the bottom of the step, a window once was. It was covered up to add privacy and to keep someone from smashing into it. With the window gone, the natural lighting was as well. Combining this with the dark paneling that was installed made it difficult to navigate without turning on the pendant light hanging above.
Reaching the true landing at the halfway point of the stairs I pause to examine the floor. Before the carpeting you could see that this landing was hinged. It could be lifted and let a person drop into the small hidden room at the top of the basement stairs I mentioned before. It was not uncommon for houses of this age to be equipped with secret passages. Prohibition necessitated the need for such things to make a speedy getaway. Through the floor and into the secret room, down to the basement and out the sloped basement doors to the back yard, all before anyone was the wiser. Over the years, several bottles of home made booze would be found hidden in the wall as more remodeling was done.
I reach the top of the stairs and sit looking down. With a railing to my right and the height from the landing to the second floor being perfect, this formed a canyon to play in. Countless plastic brigades made their way around the ledge of the cliff to flank the enemy forces. These same crags became the way into the villains hide out. On high tensile ropes spun from yarn lifted from my moms craft box, Mego action figures made their decent to the canyon floor. Epic battles between superhero and villains were fought here.
This room I am sat in, is the center of the second floor. As large as it is the space is mostly wasted. Along the far wall my toys are stacked. And to the right are things belonging to my parents, boxes and stuff of little interest to me. I stand and pause before a closet in this room. Inside all I see are coats but little else. I remember very little of this closet growing up, I think I was inside it possibly only once.
I walk to the room at the back of the house. This was my parent’s bedroom for years. They always slept in separate beds, mom nearest the door and dad closer to the window. I remember wondering why but thinking of the topic of where my parents slept is better left alone.
Between the beds on a night stand was something that held my attention for years. I picked up the small alarm clock. It was a cube shape, about four inches a side, the outside was covered in a dark wood grain finish. The large LED’s displayed the time and above was a sunset. A dark orange orb with reflections of red and lighter orange as if reflecting off water, could be turned on and off with a switch. Something about this clock brings a warm and comforting feeling to me, I feel sleepy just looking at it.
This room has little else for me to remember beyond the black and white television and my father’s closet.
The closet was Dad’s alone; his clothes still hang there in my memory as I look inside. The smell of his cologne reaches my nose. It was Old Spice and it came in a small white bottle with a grey hexagonal stopper on the top. Before closing the door I look down to the floor and see a box of Twinkies. I would hide the box there so my brother would not eat them in one of his marijuana fueled munchie raids in the kitchen.
Entering the room at the front of the house I stand in my bedroom. My bed is in front of me to the left. It is a single bed with a head board made of fake brass coated metal; its twin is in the other corner directly opposite. Looking out the window I see my front yard as it was, a busy interstate that would years later be walled off to deflect noise.
Past the foot of the other bed was the large dresser where I kept my clothes. On top sat plastic models that I had made. A Ford Bronco that would later have its windows shot out with a BB gun from across the room sat next to Darth Vader. The Sith lord had glow in the dark eyes and Lightsaber and was spared any BB damage out of respect. Behind them was a Goodyear blimp that at one time would light up and back lit messages could be put on a roller giving the appearance of the real life blimp’s display.
I removed the nose cone and found inside the folded photo spread of a thick hipped redhead stolen from a friend’s porn magazine. Looking at it now she looked quite wasted but it was all I had at the time. The blimp worked well to keep it safe, as all the other hiding spots my older brother used were long since found by mom. I am reminded of the first time I found what would be my favorite activity, and the horror of seeing the misshaped after effects of having too tight a grip. How could I possibly tell my mother or the doctor what caused this? Thankfully my little buddy found its way back into his normal appearance within the hour. I embarrassedly dismissed this memory and turn back to my right.
To my right was an open closet filled with larger toys that took up too much room in the hall. As with other things here this closet would change as I grew older. Reaching inside and above the top of the door frame, my fingers find the recess cut into the drywall that would perfectly fit a rolled up nickel bag, as if it was made just for that reason. The time I would spend partaking was short, and never at home. As oblivious as mom was she knew what that odd smell was from years of my stoner brother living here. I remember the time I freaked out while listening to Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind, I was not expecting the disturbing backward speech between “the Trooper” and “Still life”. It scared the shit out of me.
Oddly for being my room for 16 some years, besides sleeping I have just these few lasting memories here beyond homework and comic book reading.
I turn and head back towards the stairway to explore the basement.