Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Missing my folks

I don't know why the memory came to me exactly, but I have had the strongest memories in the last couple of days of the house where I grew up in Springfield, Missouri.

And specifically, oddly, of my parents' bedroom, which was at the back of the first floor of the house, a two-story Tudor-style dwelling. Their room was an add-on, I think, before we bought it when I was in the fifth grade, and could have been used as a family room. Two other bedrooms were upstairs -- mine and my brother's.

Their room had a door to the back yard and a window opening to the kitchen, in addition to the door from the small hall between kitchen and living room that also had the door to the basement. My mother, a neatnik, always kept the room immaculately neat and tidy. There was a tall bookshelf in their room, which was fairly large, and built-in drawers and a countertop near their large closet. They had a bath off a dressing area.

But my memory is of my mother taking a nap, probably on a Sunday afternoon, which was the only time she really allowed herself that luxury unless she was sick, which she hardly ever was (at least until the last several years of her life).

I can see the drawn drapes, the partly closed shuttered window into the kitchen, the soft glow of an afternoon. I can see her on her side of the bed, curled on one side, with the bedspread pulled back and neatly covering her.

It makes me puddle to remember that, somehow. Maybe it was the sense that all was well.

Daddy would likely be dozing in his big swivel rocker with golf, or maybe football or basketball, flickering quietly on the television and the newspaper's crossword puzzle in his hand. The Sunday papers would be on the brown leather hassock that sat in front of the other two rockers in the room. There might be a hint of pot roast in the air, or of spicy apple pie, reminders of the good Sunday dinner we had enjoyed after church.

It was quiet, peaceful, and all was right with the world.

It makes me miss them so much, though -- or maybe it is simply nostalgia for a time when my world was predictable, safe, calm, and pretty much without stress. I knew I was loved, I was safe and taken care of. My responsibilities were pretty minor -- clean my room, help with housework and laundry, keep up my grades, tell the truth. The only other person who ever saw my parents nap like that on a Sunday afternoon is my brother -- and I don't know if he remembers it as I do.

I'd welcome a little more simplicity right now, a little more predictability, a little less stress, a lot less worry about those I love. It seems like such a different life, this one, and so very far removed from that time.

I nap -- on those rare occasions when I DO nap -- much the same way as did my mother, curled under the bedspread or maybe with an afghan covering my legs. It is one of the sweetest sleeps I know, napping like that on a quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon. It doesn't happen often enough. Maybe it should.

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