Thursday, August 16, 2007
There was something mysterious about the upstairs of my grandparents' house. Behind a door off of the dining room was a long and dark enclosed stairway that led to the second floor. Each wooden step had a textured black hard rubber tread nailed to it, perfect for my sister, my cousin, and me to scoot down on our butts. Some of the treads were cracked or broken -- you had to watch for those and, over time you knew instinctively where they were at. There was one turn in the staircase which, if you didn't plan for, would cause you to crash into the wall in front of you. Sometimes I didn't plan on it on purpose.

But what exactly was on the second floor? Three bedrooms. The largest was grandpa's and the next largest was grandma's (she snored). His room had a row of dormer windows but it still always seemed very dark as they were shaded by large maple trees in the front yard. Grandma's room had one small window and was always incredibly dark. The third bedroom was my uncle's. He was about nine years older than me. His room was very small but both his room and grandma's had what we called "little rooms" off of them which were actually no more than closets built into the attic. Both "little rooms" were full. My uncle's seemed to be full of partial rolls of left-over wallpaper, model rocket parts, and collected Mountain Dew cans. (I suspect he wanted to collect beer cans but his very Methodist parents would never have allowed that.) The "little room" off of grandma's room was full of old clothes including formal dresses that my mom and aunts had worn growing up.

The house's only bathroom was also upstairs and it had its own "little room" built into the attic -- a room which seemed to house cleaning supplies but, when my aunts and uncles cleaned out the house after grandma and grandpa had both passed away, yielded boxes and boxes of old magazines and canning jars. (The house turned out to be quite full of old canning jars.)

I don't remember anyone ever scolding my cousin, my sister, and I about exploring the upstairs, nor anyone warning us against doing so but, somehow, we just knew that we really weren't to explore up there. Who knew what secrets it might hold? We always wondered but never really found out. But, still, when we were upstairs -- just the three of us -- it was our world of mystery and intrigue.

When necessary and always with permission, we'd go upstairs to use the bathroom. There was no lock on the door so one of us would stand guard outside for whoever had to go. And then, quickly and bump by bump, we'd slide back down the stairs, leaving the mysterious upstairs and returning to the world of adults.

  posted at 8:35 PM  

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Todd R. said...

Hey Todd,

Great bit of writing there. i was right with you....all except for the not exploring part. I would have been all over that place!

Thanks man!



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