Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bedroom Tour

Hello, and welcome to this stop of the Bedrooms of the Oakmore Highlands tour! As you know, it's a fundraiser for the local public school, as is just about every public gathering around here. Did you notice the signs at either end of the street with the lovely graphic of a smiling house? This corner of Oakland is now called The Oakmore Highlands, and with a fancy name like that the introduction of a House Tour seemed inevitable. My homeowner association dues helped pay for the signs (I suppose passing those fund straight to the chronically underfunded schools didn't occur to anyone.) Did they make you feel safer and happier? Good.

At any rate, you're here now and as it's a school fundraiser, what's more fitting than focusing on the rooms in which the youngest members of the family live? We'll start  with the first door on your right, the one with scratchmarks on it at the dog's shoulder height.  Once you step inside - careful of that stack of theater scripts  and musical soundtracks on the floor, please - you'll see why he's always clamoring to get inside. It's a hunting dog's paradise, if what you like hunting is stuffed animals!

Here, there, absolutely everywhere, you'll notice that every horizontal surface is covered with plush toys (what the natives here colloquially refer to as "Stuffties." ) Well. That's not exactly true. Since books and Stuffties cannot, by the laws of physics, occupy the same space at the same time, some of the Stuffties actually sit atop the books that are strewn haphazardly throughout the room. You'll notice books about ballerinas, books about the theater, books about ballerinas in the theater. It's as if the bookcase sneezed, isn't it?

Finally you may notice the artwork that settles like new snow into the nooks and crannies of the bedroom, covering up any last glimpses of the carefully painted periwinkle walls, whimsical furniture, and hand-sewn floral curtains with which I once I so painstakingly decorated this space. Drawings of wizarding schools, drawing of twee orphanages, drawing of Broadway musicals; if you need a drawing that features tiny details, long-legged girls, and round-featured puppies , which are later interpreted in a theatrical production in which this room's occupant plays every part, you've found the right spot.

You may have heard that this room was once double occupancy. It's true; we, the homeowners,  made a deal with the two junior residents that they could each have their own rooms, as long as they followed a long list of rules about keeping them clean and making their beds each day and not letting clutter accumulate. What…are you okay? Are you allergic to dustbunnies? Oh, you're laughing. Well.  Probably a good time to close the door and move on to the second bedroom.

As we walk down the stairs I will warn you that this room's occupant has had three years more on the planet to accumulate what I'll refer to as "Special Things" than the Stufftie aficionado. "Special Things" are those items whose value is cleverly concealed from the casual viewer, but whose disposal will cause the object's owner to flop around on the floor like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. These include but are not limited to a coconut sent from Florida as a postcard by my brother to his niece, empty packaging from toys that were lost two summers ago, and a piece of brown yarn being archived for future use as a bridle for a toy horse. All these Special Things and more await the careful observer within.

Let me just put my shoulder against the door; sometimes the mountain of clean clothes that have yet to make it into drawers or closets is just stubborn. Here we are. As you can see, the predominant color themes are peppy pink with a slice of lime. Plus horses. Horses everywhere - you may note the large collection of plastic Breyer horses crammed atop the dresser, many of which are considered collector's items now. That's because my sister sent her horse-crazy niece a giant box of her old Breyer horses, the very same collection that I was forbidden to touch during my entire childhood. But I digress.

Like I said, horses. And fashion. Did you jump out of your shoes a bit to see the headless mannequin standing at the foot of the bed? Or were you just surprised at how many fabric swatches can be affixed to one lonely dress form without toppling it? The stack of cut up fashion magazines at the foot of the mannequin are not happenstance, as I too have mistakenly assumed from time to time. They are Inspiration. Evidently if they are not dog-eared and tattered until they look like Miss Haversham's dress, the room's occupant cannot achieve the right frame of mind to properly drape the aforementioned mannequin.

So pink, lime, horses, and fashion. I see you looking at the desk. Yes, that is actually a desk, I know it's hard to make out the original shape of the furniture what with the stacks of paper and books entirely covering it. Perhaps if you open the drawers - go ahead, feel free, we've bolted the entire piece to the wall - you'll be convinced. This is where the occupant keeps fabric scraps, markers, composition books, rulers. Oh - yes apparently she keeps empty candy wrappers there too, and no I couldn't hazard a guess why. The one item in the room that is kept spotless is the garbage can.

Well. That brings us to the end of our tour, I hope you've enjoyed yourself. Let me just close that door. Thank goodness for doors that close, yes?

Oh, thank you, I do pride myself on keeping the rest of the house clean and tidy; the junior residents and I clean it every Saturday. Ah. Well, I can't blame you for wondering how I put up with the state of these bedrooms.

Let me ask you a question - do you garden? Yes? Well,  I have learned to think of the detritus in those bedrooms as fertilizer. Not easy on the eyes (or nose) but serving a purpose. Those rooms are fecund with imagination, helping us grow creative people who like to be with us at home a lot. You never know where you'll be when you discover your life's passion, but my guess is that it won't happen in a barren hallway.

Or as the youngest resident says as she slings a warm arm around my neck: "I love that our house is not a museum."


  1. Nancy, dear, this is wonderful! I wuold love to live in a museum (I find order calming), but comfort and compromise come with family and the tradeoff is so worth it. As to fund raisers: Don't get me started. I would like to be able to opt out and simply give our schools regular donations. Pimping wrapping paper and magazine subscriptions is bad enough; stay out of my bedrooms!

  2. Maybe a really good school fundraiser would be a kid's roomcleaning service: a totally impartial parent to come over and clean out what has just become part of the wallpaper to the actual parent.

  3. Hmmm, I quickly closed the door to the room that my girls share! Remarkable similarities in contents and organization.
    Dont get the URL stuff to post this message.


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