Monday, November 10, 2014

The Back Bedroom

Lately I've made a little project of adding some finishing touches to the back bedroom. I've been scouring eBay for vintage solid-brass switch plates, curlicue picture frames, and Roseville and McCoy pottery in blues and greens. Boxes have been arriving on our doorstep, and I've been saying to Rob, sheepishly, "Don't worry. I got a really good deal!"

Well, on Saturday I finally opened all the boxes, arranged the various new bowls and vases, and screwed the switch plates into place. Then I cleaned the room from top to bottom. I dusted and polished and swept and tossed out dustpans full of cat fur, and when I was done I just stood there at the foot of the bed, for a long time, admiring my work.

It's funny how much it means to me to make a little place of peace and beauty in the world. When I was a child I always had a fort in our backyard (I called it my "cottage"), and I would thatch the roof with fragrant cedar and fill the dim interior with bits of carpet I'd find on trash piles. My sister Kris and I furnished the place quite elaborately, with doll-sized beds we built ourselves (for our teddy bears) and shelves full of the seashells and sand dollars we used for dishes. In the living room sat a little couch whose cushion was a burlap bag stuffed with fresh pine needles, and Boo, our cat, liked to doze on it. Kris and I would sit beside Boo in our small but tidy quarters and chat with her and do word searches or maybe some stitchery as the cicadas buzzed and the hours drifted by.

My new cottage is a lot nicer than my old onethat's truebut I haven't changed. My main ambition is still the sameto make a pleasant, safe place where I can sit with a cat or two.

June and I sat in the bedroom on Saturday night.

"I did a pretty good job choosing everything, didn't I, June?" I said, fishing for compliments in my usual way. "Do you like the decorations I chose?"

June was happily kneading a pillow. She definitely approved of the pillow.