“His pictures of Pooh and Eyore [sic] and Christopher Robin were tacked neatly to the wall, soon enough to be replaced with pin-ups and photographs of dope-smoking rock singers, she supposed.”
My childhood bedroom was blue. Blue blue blue. We had our colors & apparently, mine as a kid, was blue. Elle’s was pink. Where she had Strawberry Shortcake, I had Holly Hobbie. Strewn about, I had dolls, crayons, & books. These were my main playthings.
Dolls were a way of acting out imaginery situations. I was limited only by what I could conjur up. This was exhilerating. I could be the person I wished I was.
Crayons were a source of pride. I was the best colorer around. I had very little by way of original artistic skill, but I could maneuver a Crayola like no body’s business. Shading, darks, lights, shadow, & staying in the lines? Fuggedaboudit. Also, when dolls were scarce, “colors” could easily be used as people. Red, Orange, Yellow – females. Green, Blue, Violet – males.
And books. Sigh. Books. When my imagination proved too limiting, all I needed to do was crack the spine of a book to visit all sorts of new worlds. Interesting people doing interesting things all released the moment my eyes afixed to the page.
I loved owning books – knowing that that story was now officially mine – but there was something magical about the Public Library. If I could replicate “Public Library Smell” & put it in an air freshener (freshener? un-freshener?), I would do so gladly. My Public Library’s children’s area (the basement, essentially, on the side) was my favorite place to go on a weekend morning. The intensity with which I dreaded Sunday mass was matched only by the intensity with which I anticipated Saturday storytime.
And whom would I find on the walls of the storytime room? When the doors were slid open, yellows & tans – Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga & Roo, all of the characters from the Hundred Acre Woods greeted me like old friends.
So I suppose, as my parents flicked off my lights when they put me to bed, quickly assessing my blue bedroom as they did so, they may have shared in the thoughts of Wendy Torrance.
They’d have been right.
Holly Hobbie turned to Barbie turned to Michael Jackson turned to Johnny Depp turned to Pearl Jam turned to Audrey Hepburn. Magazine clippings & photos taped haphazardly to my walls & wooden doors. Crayolas turned to markers turned to ballpoints turned to keyboards. Books turned to … well … books. But Christopher Robin turned to Nancy Drew turned to Ramona Quimby turned to Judy Blume turned to … heh … Stephen King.
And there we are. The visible changing signs of a child growing older.
And yet … and yet … From the bed in which I sit, typing away, I see an open jewelry box with a tiny, spinning Holly Hobbie inside. I can still hum the tune it plays when twisted & released. I know that just around the corner, in the living room, there is a stack of colored construction paper underneath a box of Crayola markers & crayons. Below the construction paper, in a small green crate, are the books of my childhood. Judy Blume, Ramona Quimby, Maurice Sendak, & yes, a few coloring books.
So while I have definitely grown up, rest assured, I have not yet grown old.