Friday, May 22, 2009

To sleep, perchance to dream.....


It is when I comment on Irene’s blog that I often get an idea for a post of my own. Out of the blue so to speak, I go off on a meandering track in my head and before I know it I’m in another place unrelated to what she has said. Like now. I was thinking of bedrooms in a comment I made on hers.

They say (and I really mean ‘they’ – I haven’t a clue where I heard this, maybe an interview on CBC radio) that we never quite leave the bedroom we had when we grew up for it is always somewhere in the psyche. That’s true for me.

I was the only girl in a family of five children for a long time. My long-awaited sister was born when I was nearly fourteen. Our house was tiny by today’s standards but considered the norm for then. A brand new semi-detached three-bedroom in a suburb of Cork, Ireland. The three-bedroom layout never made sense to me, given that the average family size in Ireland when I was growing up was six or seven children. One large bedroom where the parents slept, one medium sized (referred to as the ‘back room’) and one which was called a ‘box room’ which was 6’ X 6’. I do not jest. You could squeeze in a single bed and very little else. A small chest of drawers, perhaps. My wardrobe sat in the hall outside the door.

Still, I had the lap of luxury compared with others of my friends who had to share with sisters or kip out in the front parlour on a couch.

When my sister was born, bunk beds were squashed into the little box room. It was still luxurious as my four brothers had two sets of bunk beds and a lot of ‘aggro’ in the back room.

Since then, I’ve had various bedrooms, some vast in scale, for example one that my ex-husband and I made into a library with a fireplace and a king-size bed that could accommodate kids, dogs and cats with room to spare. Palatial. But also a little scary to me. All that wide open space never felt homey or safe. For the bedroom I feel most comfortable in is in a small one, not quite a 6’ X 6’ but a 9’ X 9’.

That’s my bedroom of today. Rather excellent high thread count sheets and pillows, a glorious duvet, a window that opens to the sea air, a chest for clothes at the end of it, and books piled on the two night-tables. A good reading lamp. Nothing more. Nothing less. And a blessed dog to guard me while I sleep.

I wouldn’t trade it for the Taj Mahal. (On second thoughts, maybe for a couple or four or one of Grannymar’s Toyboys?)

What about your bedroom?

24 comments:

  1. Your current bedroom sounds cosy enough to me. Hard to imagine those childhood bedrooms with all the bunk beds squeezed in. But as you say in those days that was normal, we didn't expect all the space we're used to now.

    My first bedroom was pretty poky, more like a 6' X 6' in a tiny little end-of-terrace. The present one of course will be exchanged for a new one in a few days' time. The important thing is a bed big enough for both of us to twist and turn comfortably when we're sleeping!

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  2. The bedroom I'll be moving to on Sunday is smaller too, about the size of yours and I'll feel more comfortable than in the larger bedroom.

    I have very few requirements. A comfortable bed, a good light, a nightstand, a pillow for the dog and some chairs. A few of my best collages on the walls and that is it. As empty as possible.

    I'm glad I was a help in inspiring this post. You're always an inspiration to me in my daily life, especially politically.

    I am less naive because of you.

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  3. WWW, you are so right! Childhood bedrooms are so important in our psyche. I have only 1 brother, so we always had our own bedrooms. I always cherished my bedroom. It was one place in my family home where I felt it was totally my space. When I closed the door, I felt I shut the world out.... that felt utterly wonderful, especially with a mother who was quite uptight... :)

    I feel the same way about my bedroom even today. I share it with my husband but he is such an easygoing person, it is hard not to imagine OUR bedroom without him. :)

    Thank you for a lovely post!

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  4. Lovely post, WWW ! I half envy you your siblings and yet am half thankful for being an only child with my own bedroom.

    I clearly remember that the colour theme of that early bedroom was green. I've never realised it 'til now, but it's an echo of the colours we used in our present bedroom - a light grey-green.
    So maybe "they" are right - we never really leave our first one. :-)

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  5. that picture is your bedroom? wow. it's everything a bedroom should be. i just want to dive in.

    i grew up in a four-bedroom, two story house in the american midwest. there were 10 kids, so we were packed in rather like you describe irish kids---there was the boys' room, which had bunk beds and a single bed and no room for anything else; three brothers slept there.

    there was the girls' room: three beds, and a mattress on the floor at the foot of the oldest girl's bed. i slept on the mattress. (until i was about 9 years old, and then we got bunk beds. i got the upper bunk.)

    and there was the little kids' room: the twins (boys) and the youngest (a girl). bunkbeds and a crib.

    and come to think of it, i still sleep very very well on the floor! until i married doug, i didn't have a real bed, just a mattress on the floor of my litltle house.

    and now when boscoe is ailing i pull the futon mattress downstairs and sleep with him on the hall floor. i think of nothing of it. very cozy.

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  6. Nick:
    Oh another 6X6er!! Well with the addition of my sister I was more like a 3X3er! (though I wouldn't have traded her for the world).
    Good luck with the new bedroom.
    XO
    WWW

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  7. Irene:
    Interesting you should say you're moving to the smaller room as I did that in my last house. For years. And then I built an addition on to the study with french doors and moved in there. I love feeling cosy and safe. All an illusion I know but still!!
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Nevin:
    Yes I had that escape hatch too in my childhood. It was my father we were all terrified of. Not that he wasn't beyond waking us up.
    Yes, special people enhance our bedrooms!
    XO
    WWW

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  9. T:
    Yes, when I was old enough to choose my own colours for the box room I chose yellow and blue and it still remains my favourite combo of all time, though I've experimented with others! Your grey green sounds beautiful!
    XO
    WWW

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  10. No wonder you have dogs, Laurie!! Given your druthers, you sleep just like one on the floor, they must feel your positive canine vibes!
    That is such a sweet picture of you and Boscoe, did you have dogs growing up?
    XO
    WWW

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  11. No wonder you have dogs, Laurie!! Given your druthers, you sleep just like one on the floor, they must feel your positive canine vibes!
    That is such a sweet picture of you and Boscoe, did you have dogs growing up?
    XO
    WWW

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  12. A childhood bedroom? The first I can remember had two full beds, Mom and Dad in one and the three girls in the other.
    My second bedroom, when we moved to a larger house, had three beds in it. Mom and Dad had their bedroom. In the other bedroom, three beds were occupied by one sister and I, one sister who had feather allergies and the third by my grandmother.
    I never had a bedroom by myself until the older sisters were in college.
    That must be why I crave solitude now.
    PS I found you through Irene and I will be back!

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  13. As a child, I always had a huge bedroom to myself. My favourite had parque flooring and huge windows that looked onto massive trees. I still remember the excitement of choosing rose wallpaper for the walls. I loved to walk around the room using the furniture and never touching the floor. I also broke my bed by using it a trampoline one too many times. Oh and did I mention the stink when my brother hid a kipper under the mattress while we were away on summer holidays lol. Thank you for a heartwarming post WWW, your bedroom looks so comfy.

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  14. I had a bedroom of my own as a child. But, it was never a sanctuary. My mother, made sure that you could bounce a quarter on the bed at anytime. I remember sleeping on the floor in order to not mess up the bed. To this day I cannot leave the house without the beds being made.

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  15. Welcome Gail!
    Understandably you would want loads of space around you. I've heard stories about sharing with grandmothers, something about the very old and very young not co-habiting well together.
    I slept with my granny on extended visits and she smoked a pipe (seriously) and the smell of it on her made me a bit sick while the smell of it on my grandad made me feel safe. Go figure!
    XO
    WWW

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  16. Lucky you Hull, with all that wonderful space though it must have appeared very small with the stench of rotting kippers! LOL.
    XO
    WWW

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  17. Brighid:
    Oh a military commandant for a mother! I had one as a father. I remember squeezing behind my door more times than I can count as he went on a rampage over something trivial.
    I've got a thing about made beds, too, though! Some guests have been shocked as they never ever make theirs but feel compelled to do so when staying under my roof. Their unmades wouldn't bother me though! I just need to make mine and fluff up the pillows!
    XO
    WWW

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  18. Three bedroom or as the Germans would say two and a half rooms, one bathroom and no shower! Eight people and legs everywhere! That was normal living in the Ireland of our childhood. The water was heated by a back boiler in the open fireplace or immersion heater in a water tank in the airing cupboard! In winter there was frost on the inside of the bedroom windows. All that comfort before you went to see be abused by the good christian nuns & priests in Irish schools.

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  19. Said well and succintly, GM, and I gather you're not sharing the TB's?
    And I was lucky I was the eldest as that bathwater by the time it reached the last brother?
    There are no words. And then to face the military camp of the schools.
    I remember scars on my hands. And that was just the piano teacher!
    XO
    WWW

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  20. Hi WWW, I have an award for you over at my place. Please come and get it.

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  21. nope, no dogs growing up. my father was terrified of dogs. i got my first dog from a boyfriend---he went to the pound, picked out a puppy, hid it under a blanket, and when i came home from work he whisked the blanket off and said, "here." and my life changed forever.

    the boyfriend didn't last. but the dogs did.

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  22. Laurie:
    One of my closest friends who has 4adult children maintains that if she had known how great dogs were she never would have had children!
    (she has two dogs and she and husband never happier!)
    XO
    WWW

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  23. Mine's pretty snug, but I wouldn't rule out palatial until I tried it. I imagine the main problem would be the draughts and difficulty in effectively heating a large space.

    Love the four poster bed piccie!

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  24. What a gorgeous bed! I've recently moved to the smaller bedroom in my house - and a smaller bed, the size of the one I slept in as a child. Interesting! I feel safe here in this room surrounded by my books and notebooks and photos of loved ones.

    Love this topic, my dear friend!
    v

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