The room I grew up in was once a sunroom. My family had built it as such so my grandmother could enjoy her reading without the harsh sun on her skin. When I was born I inherited the room. The rays of sunshine that passed through the two large windows on either side of the room reflected the inner light of my childhood. These windows were my portals growing up. When I went through my teenage angst years I covered the windows with dark tapestries. The sun was my enemy because it reminded me of a simpler time in life. Now that I was older and realizing that life was more difficult than I could have ever imagined…. my once naturally lit room turned in to a cage of darkness.
Even through these difficult times, I had always used my bedroom for the same reasons my grandmother did, unknowingly. I filled my room with books and would lie next to the windows reading. My grandmother was the closest person to me and when she passed away I was given her books and journals. As time went by I started to lose memories of her, so I took everything I owned that reminded me of her and placed it my bedroom. I had put her books on the windowsill, bookended with her china dolls, and placed her journals in a vintage suitcase.
My grandmother also gave me a teddy bear when I was born. He had a pink nightgown on and teddy bear slippers, but I called him a he, and named him Mr. Rabbit. This bear that I always believed to be a rabbit is my most prized possession. I carried him with me everywhere and he was my best friend. Late at night when I was suppose to be sleeping, I would lay at the foot of my bed with the Native quilt my mother had brought home to me from New Mexico, and the many different sized pillows that my father had told me that all princesses have, and stare up at the moon with Mr. Rabbit and read the stories that my grandmother had loved so much.
These are traits that still exist with me today. Even though my bedroom now has only one small window, I still treat is with much respect. I usually keep it free of blinds that bind the sunlight from entering, but have a treasured blue tapestry waiting for those dark days. Now, my room is filled with more treasures. Some might turn around in a circle, allowing them selves to soak in my room and just call it a cluttered mess with entirely too many things, but I don’t ever just see things. I see people that have come in and out of my life. I have run out of space on the two bookshelves that I own so now my walls and floor are lined with books. My need to sort and organize things is not apparent to outsiders. My books are not in alphabetic order or color-coded, instead I have combined books by when they entered my life and how important they are to me personally. I often wish that I were born in another time period, so I have collected old movie posters and hung them on my white walls. Now every time I look at them I imagine being in front of a theater blitzed with lights, and about to see a Marx Brothers film for the first time. Since I was a child I have discovered more and more about my grandmother and her life before I existed. I read in one of her journals, which now I have placed in the wooden trunk that was once hers from Chicago…that she had met and fell in love with my grandfather in a movie theater. This took me to tears when I read it because I had decided to study film, and it led me to another connection to my darling grandmother. I have an old Polaroid of them dancing that I hung up on my lamp which is ornamented with an old film reel.
It’s strange how these traits of my grandparents, and specifically my grandmother were past down to me. My mother, along with her sisters and brothers, do not hold the same characteristics. This allowed me to adopt a sensibility of closeness to my family that I would otherwise lack. This idea that we were both young and compelled to treasure various items from all over the world, items that held strong sentiments to us, is truly magical.
I am a sentimental human being and the ticket stubs that are used as wallpaper for my bookshelf are not there to remind me of the movies I watched but the people I had seen them with and the feeling I was in at that time in my life. I still have Mr. Rabbit. He is now unrecognizable to anyone that hadn’t met him when he was new. His pink nightgown is now faded and torn with the cotton that was his insides, falling out of him. Even after many years of pressure to give him a stitch job, I will not alter him. I want to remember him as he always was and the adventures I had beside him. I don’t keep family photos in a photo album or scrapbook. I hang them on my mirror. It’s something that I want to look at daily. I look at a younger version of my uncles, sitting around, drinking beers, and I imagine the conversation they are having. These are stories, captured in photos, or objects.
So I am not a hoarder, I am a collector of everything that once was, and in its truest form. I hold on to the meaning of the past and the glory of it all.
*** I wrote this in college. I can picture my bedroom in college, when I wrote this, so clearly. I adore it from far away. Sadly, as you get older and as you find a partner to share a bedroom with, you taste changes or has to find a nice balance for another to enjoy and create as well. I still pin my family polaroids on my mirror and have small trinkets tastefully placed on my dresser and nightstand. My partner and I have my own artwork hung on the wall (I really did no believe in frame before I met him, or at least before I turned 25). I still hold sentimental items dear far more than new treasures. I have not had the luxury of a bedroom window for some time now. Here is hoping for one in our new place and I can snap some photos of what is always my favorite room in the house (apartment).
What do you like keeping in your bedroom? Do you have any sentimental items you hold dear? Let me know in the comments 🙂