November 9, 2008

Childhood Bedroom

I just finished watching the movie P.S., which by the way has me thinking about Topher Grace in a WHOLE NEW WAY, since my previous acquaintanceship with him was limited to That '70s Show, where he was...well, '70s clothes and hair can take ANY guy and kick him squarely out of the Romantic Lead Zone.

Where was I? Oh, yes! So I was watching P.S., and there's a scene where the 39-year-old main character goes back to her childhood bedroom to retrieve some old stuff. And the room is, like, just exactly as she left it. Her high-school clothes still hanging in the closet! Her shoes still on the floor! Her posters still on her wall! Her stuff still messy on her desk! Her boxes of memorabilia still stacked precariously on closet shelves!

My old childhood bedroom is at the other end of the spectrum: when I went to college, I cleared it out as if my parents were going to be leasing it to a new tenant. I left behind two large boxes of things I didn't want to get rid of but couldn't really bring to college, either, such as books and my prom dress (did I think I was going to need that again some day? I tossed it out a few years later). Those, I put in the closet. Everything else was GONE. CLEARED OUT. Walls bare. Desk drawers empty. I MOVED OUT at that point, or that's the way I saw it. I still came back for Christmases and a couple of summers, and I liked to stay in my old room when I did, but it wasn't really my room.

My parents apparently got some flack about this from their friends, which was unfair because I don't remember it being THEIR idea that I strip the room like that. I remember just assuming that that's what the next step was, and doing it, and then showing it to my parents after it was done: here's the heap I'm taking to college, here's the suitcase for the drive to get there, here are the boxes I've shoved way back in the closet, and here are the trash bags full of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup wrappers that were under the bed.

Now, in my mid-thirties, my room has been not-my-room for so long, I kind of forget it ever WAS my room. Right now it's a playroom, with toys in it for when my kids play over there. I don't think of it as My Old Room, I think of it as The Playroom. It's a different color (yellow instead of white-with-magazine-pages) and the floor is different (hardwood and throw rugs instead of the schoolroom tile I was supposed to mop and rarely did). The only lingering trace of my old room is the rainbow glitter hairspray I unwisely sprayed on a corner of my closet door.

29 comments:

NES said...

Topher Grace IS cute, isn't he?

edbteach said...

My mom redid my bedroom the minute that I moved away to college - and I only went an hour away!

She totally redecorated it and I hated it!

I moved back home my second year of college for a semester and I never felt like it was my room.

Clarabella said...

After I'd moved out, my parents renovated to make my younger sister's bedroom bigger. My childhood room doesn't even exist anymore. Except . . . one of the windows that was originally mine is still there, and my friends and I used to write silly messages with Sharpies under the window-sill. To my knowledge, my sister wouldn't let my dad paint over it when he discovered it. I think the various "Somebody luvs Somebody"'s are still there as proof of my boy-crazy girlhood.

Kelsey said...

Funny about bedrooms. . . we moved twice during my childhood, so I had three bedrooms. The last bedroom was redecorated after I'd graduated from college as my parents got ready to sell their house. So I never lived in the house they currently reside in, but I still kind of think of the room with my old bed in it as "my" bedroom. The last bedroom I lived in before college stayed pretty much the way it was until they redid it a couple of years after I got married.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Good post.

When I was in my third year of University, I switched bedrooms with my high-school-aged brother. I moved back upstairs, and relinquished to him the cool basement bedroom complete with cable and private bathroom. I wasn't coming home that much from University, and I was sick of his whining over wanting the basement room, so I finally gave in.

I cleaned it all out, and had a freshly reno'd bedroom upstairs done for me. I was a tad disappointed that I lost my basement bedroom (especially since it came with cable, lol) when I ended up moving back home and sticking around here since undergrad (just because teacher's college took me awhile to get into)... but other than missing out on cable, I'm pretty happy with my room upstairs.

So my high school room disappeared out of necessity and a move. I think because I'm still living at home as a bit of a grown up, it's nice to have a bedroom that reflects my age. LOL.

Kristi said...

I did exactly what you did and cleared everything out. But I did it because I knew my mom was just dying to snoop in my stuff and there was NO WAY I was having that!

And then a month after I was gone my mom made it into a sewing room - with a bed, of course, so I'd have somewhere to sleep during vacations! lol

Bug-N-Bee said...

My mom lost the house I grew up in about 8 years ago to foreclosure. The people who own it now fixed it up so beautifully that I'm sure I wouldn't recognize the inside if I ever saw it again.

I do wonder how I would feel now if she still lived in that house and "my room" was still mine in that sort of far off sense.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

I gave mine up much like you, only to have it turn into a storage room. You know, that room where you shove stuff that you don't want to put up or hastily need to get rid of before company? When I came home, they would clear off the bed and a nightstand for me. Thank goodness I never came home for the summers and that I packed all my stuff up or I would never have found it!

Heather said...

I save everything. I actually used my prom dress from '88 a couple of weeks ago for an 80's prom party! Well, at least I loaned it to my neighbor because I couldn't exactly fit in it anymore.

Dawna Drake said...

Topher Grace= Surprisingly attractive.

My room is now a living room and I moved out two months ago... I left a few books but also treated it as a full move out, not just leaving for a while.

I do have friends thought who's rooms were never changed when they moved out and tons of their stuff remains, even though they've been gone years.

Psuedokim said...

When I used to watch That 70's show, I'd think "Ashton who??" I've always loved Topher! I think it's the personality as much as anything else.
When I left home, it was 1992 and my bedroom had been painted an unfortunate peach color I'd insisted upon - hey it was the 80's! The weekend I left they painted the walls back to a normal color, but other than that they left it pretty much the same so it was comforting whenever I went back to visit.
This was a really touching post.

Swiggy said...

I should have treated my room the way you did.

My parents let one of their students use my brothers' room once he was away at college and had a feeling my room was in for a similar fate. Unfortunately, I was naive and figured they wouldn't need two people in the house looking after it. I was wrong, and now I don't have any of the stuff from my youth. Old letters from my highschool boyfriend, pictures from my many years at camp, shoes I would have liked to have kept - all gone. When parents sold my childhood home it was during one of the times that we were speaking to each other so all of my stuff went into a dumpster.

Your way is definitely much better.

Swiggy said...

sorry, meant that it was during one of the times that we were not speaking to each other.

jen said...

I didn't treat it as a move-out but I didn't leave behind anything because I knew the minute I left my sisters wouold ransack the place. But it's never been my room since, and I was always jealous that my MIL left my then-boyfriend's room the way he left it. Then they sold the house, and he STILL has a room, that he hasn't ever gone in that I know of. he he.

Move out or not I just wish my parents would have respected my STUFF but instead it was all my sister's before Thanksgiving.

sleepynita said...

My room was turned into a pseudo office the moment I moved out. I did keep a lot of things at my parents house but 2 years after I moved out there was a sewage backup into their house (4 feet worth) from a storm and they ended up with a brand new everything out of it.

Other then a couple photo albums there is very little I miss from my old room.

Jiff said...

I wanted SO badly to be able to return to my room with it the way it was when I left for college...but my Dad married my now stepmom, who packed it all up while I was school. My Dad moved in with her and my brother stayed in the house for a few months and when I came home, it looked like a 27 year old single guy lived there. So it was very awkward and sad for me. :(

Nowheymama said...

I haven't heard of that movie. I'll have to check it out.

My old room is now the guest room--different furniture, same wallpaper.

Kristine said...

My childhood room is a sewing room now. But to be fair, I do still have

HollyLynne said...

The second I left home my parents COMPLETELY redid my old bedroom. Like, literally, I came back to get the last of my boxes later that day and it was redecorated. And I only moved about 20 miles away. I don't just think that was a big F-YOU! I know it was, but I also know what I was like as a 19 year old and any F-You's directed towards me were at least a little merited :)

Michelle said...

I don't even have an old room anymore. My parents divorced my senior year in high school, then my mom promptly remarried, sold her house and moved in with her new husband. No room to visit or even think of differently!

Miss Grace said...

I even thought he was cute on That 70's Show.

My room is no more, but it's been gradual.

CAQuincy said...

I did basically the same thing. I MOVED OUT, and I did NOT look back. And especially since my mother has moved numerous times (twice across the country!) since then, I haven't had an old "home" bedroom to call me own in 17 years!

Firegirl said...

I packed everything as well. As soon as I left, my mother packed up all of my stuff she saved and gave it to me. Baby clothes, school papers, pictures, books, everything. It was a little disappointing.

Now my nieces stay in the room. It's similar but not the same. They like to hear stories about how it used to be.

CAQuincy said...

Here's one: My BFF from high school decided to move out of her Mom's place and into her Dad's place because she and her Mom weren't getting along. It was crazy. Her mom was upset. I was surprised. It was a very emotional period of her life. Not ONE WEEK after she moved in with Dad, her mother COMPLETELY redid her room. New paint colors, new SOFA-BED, new Southwestern theme that MJ did NOT like. And she still slept in that room when her mother had visitation every other weekend! (Nothing says "I love you dear daughter" like a SOFA-BED). As an outsider, I thought that despite the emotional turmoil that was going on there--that was a pretty cruel thing of her mother to do.

d e v a n said...

My parents moved houses and to a different STATE when I went to college. I've never felt like I had a room in their current house. Oh well.

Bethtastic said...

I went to a boarding school for high school, so I left home after eighth grade.

I packed what I was taking to school with me and left the remnants of a middle school girl behind. The following summer my parents moved across the country and packed my room for me. I had rooms in the next two houses/states they lived in, but really, I haven't had a room in my parents house since 8th grade.

My childhood has been reduced to one rubbermaid tub in my basement. It's a little weird to think about that.

Erin said...

My old room is the same way. I shared a room with my sister. First, one room, then my grandmother moved in and took that room, then another room. One room is full of junk, and the other room is a guest room with two double beds which are NOT the beds we slept on. Everything that was ours is cleared. It looks a lot better. A LOT.

the new girl said...

Dude.
I don't even want to SAY what's going on in MY old room.

I'll leave it to your imagination.

Olivia said...

We moved a lot before I was 14 years old, so I never became attached to a bedroom. My mom sold the house where we lived through jr and sr high school so there is no "childhood bedroom" to return to. I have a couple of small boxes with trophies and ribbons and that's it.