When I was a little kid, I had this thing with my closet. My room was my apartment, and the closet was my bedroom; my white dresser, made of actual wood, and decorated with scrollwork and brass fittings, was a retired piece of dorm furniture from my dad's university, and that was about it for my kitchen. The main point in this construct, this idea that I had a home of my own, was the closet, though. In summertime, I used the front porch (my two windows opened onto the front porch, and I used those for egress; who needs doors?). But the closet was the place.
I read in there a lot. I kept it "arranged", in some way which satisfied whatever my juvenile needs or dreams were. Space wasn't prescriptive to me, back then (my little wall shelves were Barbie's apartment, often).
There's a photo of my feet, sticking out of an appliance box; the ultimate, beloved nest - my brother and I loved big boxes (who doesn't???) when we were kids.
When I turned ten, mom and dad gave me a beanbag chair for my birthday, and I nearly imploded with joy at the extravagance. I still remember getting up for my Cheerios, and finding this green thing in my bowl - a newspaper print picture of a neon green beanbag. There must have been screaming. I was a big screamer.
That chair went with me EVERYWHERE. It was a fixture in the closet, it got hot and the vinyl would be soft and heated out on the front porch, it moulded into the rocking chair of my grandmother's I still love sitting in today, quietly creaking and perhaps quietly thinking, or simply being. It piled onto the couch, into appliance boxes. It lived in the closet an awful lot - but that was not because it was "put away". The thing was my next. I could cuddle up in my beanbag, the green and gold afghan my grandma made (the first one she ever made; the one I still have, so soft, much-beloved, and still bright), perhaps buried over even my head, sitting and reading.
I was into novels by the time the beanbag came along, and had that thing almost through graduation (it died in a hideous cat-marking indident ... I can still remember the sight of that bright-green, polluted thing in the dumpster beside my sleeply little apartment, too ... sad sigh). I went through my "B.C." comics compilations in that chair. I went through Mad Magazine paperback comps too. I entered the "grownup" reading years devouring my mom's Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, and even at least one spy novel of dad's. I pulled stuff off our shelves - Art Buchwald, of all things, or the acres of beautiful anthologies we owned, short stories by the mile. Poe and Hawthorne, limericks by Bennet Cerf. I was as scattershot then, I think, as I am now in my entertainments.
And always ensconced in screaming-green, smooshy, gooshy, beanbag vinyl. I used to like to unzip its bottom, unzip its mesh liner, and stick my hands in the countless, tiny, soft little styrofoam "beans". Attached as I allow myself to be to the artifacts of life, that big chunk of my childhood and teen-dom still makes me sad, when I think how it went. My mom actually bought me a red one at some point, many years later, when I could no longer fit anything like that into my life. It stayed in my basement a little while, and I gave it away at some point. I understood what she was doing. But you can't recapture some things. Even IF I probably would still have had that green one around in some corner if the thing had survived my college years.
That beanbag, my Barbie cottage - the scent of new vinyl still smells like Christmas joy to me. Heh.
Buchwald and "B.C." ... Doonesbury and Mary Stewart ... my first taste of Kristin Lavransdatter, and my last gasps with picture books and Golden Books too ...
I was a weirdo, a closet-dwelling little shy, backward kid. This is still the main makeup of my personality, and in my self-image, this aspect utterly dominates. Little brown-haired girl.
I had a good childhood.
Much as I hated it in the making.
15 hours ago