The Bedroom I Grew Up In

It is Sunday night. The Dodgers are getting pounded by the Phillies and I am watching it all from the flat screen inside the bedroom I grew up in.

My children want to know why grandma and grandpa let me have a television in my room and I won’t do it for them. I laugh and tell them that when I was their age we didn’t have a color TV. It was a small 19″ black and white unit that came with those rabbit ears we used for antennae. Not to mention no remote, DVR or DVD player.

Haven’t lived here in decades. Feels strange to say that, but it is true. The room that I grew up is no more. The furniture, posters, books and trophies that helped make this room mine are long gone. It has been painted and there is a new wood floor.

All that remains are the memories of what once happened inside this place. A thousand memories of my childhood are wrapped up inside. Enough things happened inside here that even though it serves as my mother’s office I haven’t any trouble picturing what used to be.

My bed was positioned against almost every wall except the one that I am facing now. It has a desk against it, with the television just above it. It is too small for a bed, but the desk works just fine, in fact this is where mine once was.

I turn to the right and I see a big window. The blinds are drawn upon it but I know exactly what is outside. I don’t have to open it to see the neighbors den or to remember how at night I would watch television with them.

During the winter when the windows were closed I couldn’t hear a thing, all I could do was guess at what was being said. But not during summer. Summer nights they’d open the window and I’d open mine. If I closed the bedroom door no one would know what I was doing or more importantly what I was seeing.

The neighbors had daughters who were about seven and ten years older than I am. I remember one night when I was around ten or so being given a show by the oldest and the guy who eventually married her. Since the lights were out in my room they had no idea that I was in there. And I suppose since that room didn’t face the street it didn’t occur to them that pulling the blinds would be wise.

I saw a number of things that night that alternately interested and horrified me. I couldn’t understand why she moaned and wondered if she was being hurt. I remember considering getting out of bed to ask my parents if we should call the police to help her.

I decided against it because she didn’t yell for help. To ten year-old Jack that was important, not crying for help meant that she was ok. Besides I had a million sisters and knew that girls were weird so why ruin the show. This was the only time that I had ever seen this, most of the time it was television with her parents. There was no doubt in my mind if I told my parents that would kill future opportunities to watch late night television.

Later on as a teenager the memories made me more cautious about my own interaction with girls. I always made sure to draw the blinds or find some privacy somewhere.

Hard to believe that some of these memories are more than 30 years old and yet it is easy. The echoes of the past almost make it feel like the present yet at the same time it is clear that those days are gone. Watching the Dodgers get routed makes me miss those days.  I remember the championships from ’77 and ’78 when we beat the Phillies to win the pennant..

Davey Lopes is here, but he is coaching for the enemy now. Mike Schmidt isn’t anchoring third for the Phils and Ron Cey isn’t representing the boys in blue. Dusty Baker isn’t roaming the outfield with Reggie Smith and I am not begging to stay up late on a school night.

Not much more time to reminisce. I am here because I have to pick the folks up from the airport. They’re enjoying retired life and traveling to points unknown with some regularity. They live closer to the airport than I do so I figured that I’d swing by, use their treadmill, shower and then head out to pick them up.

Oh, did I mention that I am going to pick them up using dad’s car. It makes me laugh.  A big chunk of years ago it would have bothered me to admit that I am going to be driving daddy’s car, but I could care less now.

Besides I need to make a stop at Home Depot and his car is bigger than mine.  See you all later.

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