Sunday, February 15, 2009


the house i grew up in turned 100 five years ago. when it was built, it was surrounded by farm land before englewood became a bustling suburb of new york city. i imagine there were grand parties held there. full of women wearing white gloves and servants and children spying down from the staircase. live music and champagne and flapper dresses. my parents had a few parties. i was allowed to go down in my nightgown and say hello to the guests and courtsey and tell them what i had done that day. and mary would then take my hand and put me to bed and i would slip out and watch from the top of the stairs as people said goodnight.

there was an elevator on the third floor, which hung in suspension for all the years we lived there. probably for more than that as the places it would stop on the second and first floor were made into closets long before my parents bought the house. my mother always wanted me to stay away from the elevator. it had a wooden door with glass panels and it was locked to keep the children from playing in it.

in the attic with the elevator were things from us and previous owners. tons of paintings of horses and large wooden wheels taken from ships that my grandfather bought for his antique collection. my favorite was a large, purple-ish baroque headboard. it looks as if it were fit for a queen and i tried to get my mother to put it in my bedroom, but finally settled for a canopy bed from ethan allen. i would hide behind the headboard in games of hide and seek because no one ever wanted to come into the attic. they would always stop looking and end up playing pool or computer games in my brother's room, which was just across the hall. when that happened, i would quietly sit there, in the dust, making up stories in my head about people who had lived there before us.

in the nursery, there was a sleeping porch for hot summer nights that wrapped around the side of the house. boys from long ago had left games out there and i always tried to get out but it was alarmed. only on special occasions would my mother un-arm the door and i would run around out there, trying to gather as many trinkets as i could, speedily talking to my mother, convincing her that it should be utilized as a sleeping porch once again. i think it scared her. the doors to the porch were white and had round porthole windows that were too tall for me to look through. they were cloudy too, not having been cleaned for years and years. that porch held so much mystery for me. the laughter of the boys who slept there seemed to steep into my brain. how i wished i could join them on those hot summer nights.

i've mixed up memories and dreams about that place and now have no idea what is real. i suppose its all real in some way and all dreams in another. everything seems to be a dream lately and for that i wish i could sleep continuously and wake up in the bedroom i had when i was eleven, throw on a bathing suit, eat my cheerios, and jump into the cool clean water for a day full of sunshine and sweet iced tea.

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