In childhood, did you share a bedroom with siblings or have a room to yourself? What kinds of things did you collect and display in your own little corner of the world?
From the time that I was born I shared sleeping quarters with my older sister, with my two older brothers also rooming together. When I was first born I slept in a dresser drawer as my brother Joe, who was only 16 months old at the time, occupied the baby bed. We moved to Chicago when I was only a few months old, and I shared a couch with my sister until my dad was able to refinish the upstairs of our new house into two bedrooms. By then, Joe was old enough for a bed and I got the crib.
|Des Moines house|
My sister got married and moved to Florida when I was 13, so I finally had a room to myself. At that point, I built myself a desk out of a sheet of plywood and two peach crates. I painted the wood, covered the crates with contact paper, and then made some curtains to hang on the front of the crates. It was in the peach crates that I began to store my growing record collection.
My first job at 12 or so was baby-sitting in my neighborhood, and with the money I earned I would buy 45's or albums if most of the songs appealed to me. My parents gave me a record player one year for Christmas, and I was able to listen to music in my room without my dad complaining about what I was playing. I used to tease him in later years that the music he complained about - the Carpenters, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, the Bee Gees - were now the artists he was listening to in elevators. Ha!
In retrospect, I really didn't mind sharing a room with my sister, and I missed her desperately when she moved away. I'm positive that I had a better college experience with roommates because I had been used to sharing space most of my life. It helps in marriage, too!