Blast From the Past: An Overview of Computer Games from My Childhood

Being homeschooled, my childhood was a little different than most of my friends’.  Besides not having to get up early and go to class, we never had cable TV or video games of any type.  (Gasp!)  We definitely weren’t bored, though — when we weren’t doing schoolwork, we would watch PBS, or play outside, or read.  Or, we would get on our clunky old desktop and play computer games.

My boyfriend thinks I’m totally weird when I reminisce about the games we played.  And I get that — the games we played were either your typical homeschool-er educational games, or they were horribly dated even for the years in which we played them, and they  all had to be installed via the incredible CD-ROM.  Even then, it was kind of a weird, novelty thing.  No one else I knew growing up loved playing dorky computer games.  But me and my siblings did.  And it’s time for a flashback.

 

Resultado de imagen para jumpstart spanish
Source

Ah, Jump-Start.  I’m pretty sure we had every Jump-Start game there was.  But this is the one I remember.  If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you may know that American Girl’s Josefina was what really got me interested in learning Spanish.  Before Josefina, though, there was Jump-Start Spanish.  I learned a ton of vocabulary playing this thing.  When I started Spanish lessons in fourth grade after we began homeschooling, I was a little ahead because of all this vocabulary, and that gave me the feeling that I was good at Spanish, which in turn gave me the confidence to continue studying it.  Thanks, Jump-Start.  (And parental units.)

 

Resultado de imagen para math magician computer game
Source

I remember this being called Math Magician, or Math Mountain, or something like that.  This was one my mom kind of made us play, and we grumbled about it, but it really did make basic math concepts easier.  You play as a cat (I think?) who travels through different places, but to get to the next one you had to successfully solve the puzzles (ie, learn the concept).  There was basic addition and subtraction, and it went all the way through fractions and multiplication tables.  And when you got to the end, there was a little party because you finally made it to the top of the mountain!  Yay!  Math was my least favorite subject, so this really did make it better (although I never would’ve admitted it at the time.)

Resultado de imagen para where in time is carmen sandiego
Source

This was literally one of my and my siblings’ favorite games.  In all the Carmen Sandiego games, you played as a spy trying to catch Carmen.  For this game in particular, you chased Carmen all the way from the Silk Road to Yuri Gargarin’s launch.  You met Leif Ericsson, Thomas Edison, men from ancient Japan, Native Americans before settlers came, and a ton of others I can’t remember, and you had to solve a problem for each one before you could travel ahead in time.  I think my sister and I probably played this through a good three or four times.  It was fabulous, and we both still occasionally quote the characters.  Also, while I did take an ancient history class in high school, a lot of what I remember came from this game, not our assigned reading.

 

Resultado de imagen para oregon trail game
Source

Oh my word — the Oregon Trail.  Possibly one of the worst, most basic computer games ever created, my siblings and I could not get enough.  We discovered this around the time we were reading the Little House on the Prairie series, so it was just perfect.  We played it a lot, and for a game so simple, it was such a challenge to arrive at our destination.  I only remembering getting there a handful of times.  As a kid, if you haven’t died of dysentery on the trail a million times, you haven’t lived.

Resultado de imagen para barbie secret agent
Source

The infamous Barbie Secret Agent — this game had no educational value whatsoever.  The graphics were awful, and so was the dialogue.  It was hilarious to play.  I’m pretty sure the story line centered around someone stealing someone else’s fashion designs, and that just sets the tone for the whole game.  Barbie had the most diva secret agent skills ever — for instance, to sneak past a guard, you had to blow compact power into his face.  It made me and sister laugh every time.  In addition to all that, you could also choose between about 10 different outfits for Barbie (because she’s not Barbie without a fabulous wardrobe).  She had a different set of clothes for each country she had to go to.  For being such a frivolous game, the final level was really hard to beat — I remember that euphoric feeling when we finally achieved it.

Resultado de imagen para nancy drew games
Source

Nancy Drew games were the last few I played before I started growing out of computer games.  Honestly, they’re still kind of fun — my cousins play them at Christmas, and we often have to work together, because the puzzles really are difficult.  I read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys mysteries as a kid, so playing through these was so much fun.  And at the time, the graphics were good enough that the games could be absolutely terrifying.  It was thrilling and addictive, and I really think it boosts critical thinking.  These are very well done, and I definitely remember them fondly.

I’m sure we had a few more, but those are the ones I remember.  My parents didn’t like us to play for too long at one time, although my siblings and I would’ve played for hours straight.  But I don’t remember a ton of screen time.  Mostly, I remember crowding around the computer with my sister and brother and collaborating to figure out a puzzle, or laughing hysterically at terrible graphics and stories.  As we all got older, we quit playing together as much, because we all have different interests.  But these computer games fascinated all of us, so I think they kept us playing together for a little bit longer than we might have if we hadn’t had them.  I think we’ll be laughing at the memories of these forever.

Also, I just have to know — were we the dorkiest kids in the universe, or is there anyone out there that also remembers these??

4H and Public Speaking

Imagine yourself standing in front of a room full of people.  You’re supposed to give a presentation.  You have your notecards, and your PowerPoint, and a bottle of water just in case.  You’ve practiced what you’re going to say in your head dozens of times.  You’re prepared.  And yet, as you stand up there all alone, in front of thousands of expectant, blinking eyes, your throat goes dry and your breathing catches and your knees get wobbly.  You glance at your carefully written notes, and take a breath, and force yourself to begin.

Sound familiar?  We’ve all had to give speeches at one time or another.  And it’s a lot of people’s biggest fear.  No one likes standing in front of others, feeling exposed.  If we mess up, everyone knows. It’s nerve-wracking.  I get why people don’t like it.

I’m the anomaly.  I actually love public speaking.  As reserved as I am, you wouldn’t think it to be true, but it is.  To me, public speaking can be easier than a regular conversation.  When I do a speech, I get to write my thoughts down on paper and organize them first, and then I get to say them out loud to an audience who wants (or has to) listen to me.  It’s like a blog post, but out loud and live.  I do get nervous, but I’ve done it enough that I’m fairly comfortable in front of a crowd, and I know that I can get through it without embarrassing myself.

It wasn’t always this way.  I first started doing speeches in 4H, and it was flipping terrifying.  In 4H, January is public speaking month.  Because 4H starts in 4th grade and continues through high school, there are different prompts for each grade level.  They gradually get harder as you get older.  Every January, members of local clubs prepare and give speeches at the monthly meeting, and those who do a good enough job in their grade category can go on to county, regional, state, and national speech competitions.

That’s where I started.  I think my family got involved in 4H when I was in 6th grade, and my mom encouraged me to do a speech.  (She may have required it as a school assignment, but I don’t remember.)  She helped me write, practice, and memorize it.  She told me when I was fidgeting, and pointed out my habit of speakingreallyfast when I get nervous (which I still have to watch out for).  I gave my speech, and I did well, so I continued.  I don’t remember how many speeches I gave, or how far I got.   I do remember also entering the local Optimist Club speech competitions when I got older.

I also vividly remember getting to state with the Optimist Club when I was a senior, where a $2000 scholarship was at stake.  I was about to graduate, and I wanted to win.  I wanted that scholarship.  There was one other student competing for the scholarship — a junior.  We drew names to see who would go first, and I got the first spot.  While I like going to first because I like to get speeches over with, this can be disadvantageous because judges sometimes subconsciously “reserve” points until later in the competition.  But I did my best — I gave one of the best speeches I’ve ever given.  The other girl was good, but I didn’t feel that her speech was as strong as mine.  (I was probably biased, but…)  However, when awards were announced, I lost the competition and the scholarship by one point.  I’m pretty sure I will always be bitter about that.

Sometimes, I miss competing.  I get to give speeches and presentations in classes, but the other students don’t really care about what I have to say.  They just want to get their own presentation over with.  I miss having more than a grade at stake.  I know I can get an A on a presentation, but I miss the adrenaline of trying to be the best.  In competitions, everyone watches you because everyone cares.  We all size each other up, and think about last minute adjustments we can make to give ourselves that edge.  In competitions, I knew I was good, but I really didn’t know if I would win.  It was a challenge.  It required me to push myself.

I did a few other things in 4H, most notably the sewing camps.  Even though I didn’t always enjoy the meetings, I am glad my parents pushed me to join and participate.  I got a lot out of 4H, and I didn’t realize until it was over just how much it shaped who I am.  But the speech competitions will always be the thing I remember most fondly about 4H.

Southern Food and Christmas Plays: A Holiday Memoir

My family are holiday travelers.  Thanksgiving and Christmas have always meant packing suitcases and spending 3 or 4 or 6 hours in the car.  Out of the 16ish years my brain allows me to recall, I can remember one Thanksgiving spent at my own house — all other holidays are spent at grandparents’, or whichever relative has the biggest house at the time.

A lot of families I know have several generations all living within a few miles of each other.  When I realized as a first- or second-grader that some of my classmates saw their grandparents every Sunday for dinner, I was amazed.  I thought everyone had to travel for hours to see their family members.  Trips were especially long when I was little — my mom’s side of the family lived 6 hours away,and my dad’s side was a whopping  12.  I don’t know how my parents stood it.  If it had been me with a 5-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a baby, I would have been letting my parents come to me.  (Actually, my dad’s parents did come to us eventually — they moved a much closer 3 hours away when I was in middle school.)

Because of the long drives, we hardly ever stay with relatives for less than 3 days.  And when I say stay with relatives, I mean with relatives.  Some families prefer to maintain some breathing room by renting hotels if they  visit family, but not us.  Neither side of my family is afraid to break out the air mattresses — having up to 18 people in a 3-bedroom, 2-bath is not uncommon.

It sounds chaotic, and it is — but not in an unbearable way.  By some stroke of luck, both sides of my family get along with each other pretty well.  There are feuds here and there, and the occasional silent treatment between siblings, but fights get put on the back burner during the holidays.

Holidays with my mom’s side are full of home-cooked Southern food and visiting old friends.  I appreciate this now, but as a kid it sometimes got a bit monotonous.  My mom has three sisters, but only one of them had a kid, and she was born 15 years before me.  Having essentially only each other to play with during holiday visits, my siblings and I often bickered (not that it was any different at home).  But we would bring lots of books and toys to keep us occupied, and visits to the local zoo were always looked forward to.  Also, my grandmother’s home was close to the state capitol building, which had an amazing archive.  This archive included a collection of beautiful donated clothes, complete with a 50s(?)-era wedding gown, that young children like me were allowed to dress up in.  While I don’t remember ever going there during the holidays (it was more of a summer thing), archive visits with my mom and grandmother will always be treasured memories.

My dad’s side of the family makes up for the cousin “deficit” of my mom’s side.  On his side, there are 8 of us, almost perfectly stair-stepped in age.  Amazingly, we all get along great.  Once I aged into middle school, we had all hit that sweet spot where we could collaborate.  For about 4 or 5 years straight, my cousins and I would spent the day or two right before Christmas or Thanksgiving locked in a bedroom, writing a play.  We’d come up with the premise, and each create our own character, then we’d write a script.  Inevitably, the younger cousins would float away during that part, but we’d reign them back in to create costumes and practice.  We’d even write advertisements, which we’d tape to walls and doors throughout the house, to draw in our audience (who would’ve attended no matter what).  Then, typically the evening before everyone left, we’d perform our play for our grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles.

As we all got older, interest in the plays waned.  The cousins who were in elementary school during our prime play season continued to suggest them into their middle school years, but as a whole, we had grown out of them.  We moved on to books, manuscripts, video games, and preparation for the zombie apocalypse.  I, as the oldest cousin, started playing up-and-down with the grown-ups at night rather than cramming on the couch to watch a movie.  We began discussing current events instead of hypotheticals.  We started graduating high school.

When that side of the family gets together now, we are a little more separated.  Those closest in age end up basically glued together while the rest of us bounce around doing our own thing.  When we get older, though, we’ll still make an effort to all get together with our own families — we’ve already talked about it.  Those cousins are a tight-knit group, and our Christmas plays definitely played a role.

This year is a dad’s side Christmas (we visited my mom’s side for Thanksgiving).  Typically we switch sides every year, but I have a feeling next year will be more complicated, since my boyfriend and I are planning on being engaged by then.  I guess we’ll all have to do some adapting.  But this year it’s still relatively simple, and even though my hermit side occasionally dreads being around so many people for so long (though I do love them all dearly), I think I’ll have an easier time appreciating it all.  In the finale of The Office, Andy says this:

Resultado de imagen para office finale quotes andy

Lucky for me, I do know that these are some of the good old days.

On Makeup

One of the bloggers I recently began following, Beauty on a Budget, shared this post about her makeup story.  I’ve always thought about doing one like that, so here we are!

I had just started my freshman year of high school when I first started wearing makeup.  I had never really thought about it before then, but I started to notice other girls wearing makeup around the time my acne started to get bad.  I had bad self-confidence throughout middle school and high school, and felt that a covering of foundation might help me feel prettier.

I was afraid my parents wouldn’t want to let me wear it.  I hadn’t been allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 13, even though I had been asking since I was 8.  Plus, my mom had discouraged me from shaving my legs in middle school, wanting me to hold onto childhood as long as possible.  Clothes were also a battle — what I thought was cute was often deemed too immodest.  Now, I realize that they were simply trying to keep me innocent, and focused more on education and skills than appearance.  But back then it sometimes just felt like they were trying to ruin my life and keep me as frumpy as possible.

That’s why I was completely shocked when my mom responded well to my makeup request.  I knew she got her makeup from a Mary Kay lady from our church, and I knew nothing about makeup, so I resolved to ask my mom if she could give me a makeover.  I brought it up one morning as she was driving my siblings and I to co-op.  I had braced myself for a persuasive conversation at best, but she immediately came back with a peppy, “Okay.”

So a couple weeks later I got my Mary Kay makeover.  My mom and sister went with me, and the woman did a good job of keeping it minimal but grown-up.  I really enjoyed having my makeup done for the first time ever, and I ended up with some basics — mineral foundation, eye shadow, mascara, and lip gloss.  The woman coached me through the application of all of it, and when I got home I took several selfies, enjoying how grown-up and polished I looked.

I wore that same look every day for a long time.  It took me awhile to learn that blending is important, but other than that, it was an easy look for me.  It worked.  I added a few more eye shadow colors to my collection and used an eyeliner pencil on occasion.  I switched from powder foundation to a liquid — my flute has a solid silver head, and the silver would react with the minerals in my makeup, giving me a black line under my bottom lip after every lesson, practice session, and band rehearsal.  What didn’t change was that I wore makeup every time I left the house.  Going without makeup made me feel exposed.

Once I got to college, though, it was impossible to wear it all the time.  I lived in the dorms, so I was hanging out with people at all hours, especially after I had taken off my makeup at night.  The first semester of college was amazing for me, mostly because I finally found out what it meant to have real friends that I got to see every day, through the good and the bad.  But also because I realized that my friends treated me the same whether or not I was wearing makeup, and that was huge.  I became much more comfortable with myself because of that.

Also, on the day I met the man I’m now dating, I thought I looked like crap.  I had on a ratty t-shirt and yoga pants, and more importantly, no makeup.  I was hanging out with some friends in the study room in my dorm, and was sent downstairs to let in a guy who was going to join us.  That night, four of us stayed up till 3 am goofing off and going to Waffle House and watching movies, and that was when my now-boyfriend decided he liked me, even though I looked like crap.  That did wonders for my self-esteem.

Since then, I’ve become much more lax about makeup.  I still wear it most days, because I feel more confident with it on.  But if I run out of time in the morning (or just forget), I don’t worry about it anymore.  I don’t bother to pack foundation and apply it in the bathroom, because it doesn’t matter.  Makeup won’t ever hide the fact that my skin is not perfect, and that’s not really what people care about, anyway.

Now, I have a mild interest in learning how to apply it better.  One of my friends is great at makeup, and I’ve considered asking her to show me some things, like how to really use my makeup brushes.  But learning how to do makeup is expensive and time consuming.  Also, I am a bit afraid that if I learn to do makeup well, I’ll fall back into the high school mentality of hating my face without it.  So I’m not sure if it’s worth it.  As much as I’d love looking like a makeup model, it’s entwined in a lot of self-love issues for me.  But that’s definitely something I’m working on overcoming, so who knows what my makeup future holds!

20160822_133539808_ios
Everyday look – minimal and subtle

And This One is About My Brother

I just wrote a post about my sister.  It was a long overdue post, and said things like how proud I am of her and how cool she is — things I should say more often.

But while I was writing it, I kept thinking about the fact that I have a brother, too, who is just as cool as my sister.  And really, instead of writing about him, I should just tell him randomly that I like him and think he’s a really cool person.  But since I’m an hour and a half away at school, and since I’ve already written a lot about my sister for everyone who happens to read this blog to see, it’s time to introduce you to my brother, too.

I was five when my brother was born.  The only thing I remember about his infancy was that I was days from starting kindergarten, and on the morning of his birth, when my grandmother asked me to “guess what I had new today,” I confidently told her, “A lunch box!”

I do remember him being a toddler, though.  I loved him when he was a toddler.  I thought he was cute.  But as he got older, I got more and more frustrated with him, because it seemed that he always wanted to be doing what my sister and I were doing.  I didn’t want to add a new companion to our playtime.  What 9-year-old kid wants to let her 4-year-old brother follow her around?  Maybe some do, but I didn’t.  And I didn’t know how to swallow my selfish desire for things not to change, and so I have to admit I could be pretty mean to my poor brother when he was little.  I wouldn’t let him play with me and my sister.  I would tell him he was annoying and a pest.  (All of which I regret deeply now.)

Looking back, I think part of this is because I do not have an innate need to have a lot of friends.  At this point in life, I have three-ish people I talk to on a regular basis, and that’s counting my sister and boyfriend.  It’s a part of my nature to not branch out if all my social needs are met, and when I was 9, 10, 11, all I needed was my sister.  I didn’t want to make the changes that a new sibling required.

There was also the age difference to think about.  Age matters a lot when you’re young, and with five years between us, we’ve always been at different stages of life.  When I started middle school, he was in second grade.  When I started high school, he was 9.  When I began college, he was barely 13.  I’ve always been focused on my own life, not really bothering to ask him how he was doing or what he was interested in, and not really knowing how.

My boyfriend has a theory that brothers just usually aren’t as close to their siblings as sisters are.  And maybe that’s true.  But I also know that my sister and brother seem to have a fairly close relationship.  Part of this is because they were the only kids at home after I left for school, and they’re also a bit closer in age.  But sometimes another part of me thinks the reason we are not closer is because I ruined our chances in childhood.  By telling him he was annoying all the time, did I push him away forever?

I seriously hope not.  Because now that we are both older, I really appreciate how he has grown as a person.  He’s very crafty with his hands, and built his own homemade forge in the backyard with which he makes his own knives and tools.  He likes to learn by watching YouTube and researching blacksmithing processes online.  He’s also into 4H and shoots skeet and other things.  I won’t even pretend to know what I’m talking about when it comes to shooting sports, but he got his own shotgun for Christmas and is getting better at whatever it is he’s doing with that.  

He’s also told me recently, offhandedly, that he’s been writing some.  He described a scene of a story he was typing out.  It was full of action, as I would have expected.  I don’t know whether this story was for school or enjoyment, but either way it made me happy to see him being creative with words.  My siblings and I are all so vastly different, but all of us enjoy writing.  And I love that.  

I worry sometimes if my brother knows that I love him and appreciate him as a person.  I try to let him know in little ways.  I’ve been known to leave notes in his room on occasion telling him that he’s “awesome sauce.”  Over Christmas break, to remind me to pick him up from school, he put a note in my car telling me to “pick up favorite brother!”, which I did every day.  We don’t chat a whole lot, but when we do it’s friendly and enjoyable.  In light of our hugely contrasting personalities, I think on the whole we have a good relationship.

Sibling relationships are weird.  Some siblings I know can’t stand each other, or are always in competition.  Some siblings can’t overcome their differences as children and distance themselves from their families.  And others stay friends even after they’ve all left their childhood home.

I honestly think that my siblings and I will be like that.  When all three of us are together, we have a great time.  They are the friends I never would have chosen if we weren’t related.  We three have discussed that before — if we all were to have met not as siblings, we would be friendly to each other, of course, but none of us would have bothered to get to know the others.  But I guess that’s what family is supposed to be.

I said this already in the post about my sister, but I wish everyone had siblings like mine.

This Post is About My Sister

I’ve mentioned my sister a lot on this blog before.  She’s a blogger, like me, and I’m proud to say that I am the person who encouraged her to start a blog in the first place.  Almost a year ago, we decided to trade guest posts.  She, being the writer that she is, wrote one for me immediately.

I intended for this post to go up on hers.  But as I was staring at the page, trying to write a post about literature or our differing music tastes, I couldn’t write anything but this:

My sister is my best friend.  As we like to inform people, we are Irish twins, which means we were born fourteen months apart.  (Our poor mother, we know.)  Up until I left for college three years ago, we shared a room and just about everything else.  We grew up playing together all the time.  My childhood memories consist of me and her playing with Barbies, me and her playing with stuffed animals, me and her playing outside.  “Playing a story,” we called it.  We were both always into stories.  We played together, either with just each other or also with our brother or friends, until we hit the preteen years.  I remember things changing a bit when I hit about 12.

I’m the oldest child.  Statistically, this means I’m independent, and that is true for me.  When I began to realize that there was more of a world out there, with boys and colleges and new friends that were just mine, I began to draw away from her.  She would ask to play with me and I would lose interest too fast.  At first, I didn’t know why that was.  I wished I could be interested in Barbies still, but I wasn’t.  I didn’t want to play at life anymore.  I wanted to begin to live it.

Throughout high school, college was my focus.  I wanted to get out and learn and live on my own, away from my family, where I could make my own decisions.  For that first year of college, I sucked at communicating.  My mom complained that I never called, and my sister tried to Skype me, but it always seemed that I was rushing off somewhere.  I barely talked to anyone.

While I was off doing my own thing, my sister grew up.  She formed her own great group of friends and got involved in theater and got herself a very good job and became a great 4H leader.  And now, as regular readers of this blog will know, she is getting ready to go off on a grand six-month adventure where she’ll grow in ways she never imagined and get to do things she never thought she’d do, and all of this lines up perfectly with what she wants to do with her life in the eventual future.  As always, my temptation right now is to compare our lives and accomplishments and feel that I’ve fallen short, because she is just a phenomenal person.  But we’ve talked about that together before, too.  

We are similar and different in fascinating ways.  We both adore words, but she enjoys classics and poetry and is a self-named purist, while I love YA and memoirs and some literary fiction.  We’re both intelligent, but have different academic interests — she is more into science than I am and prefers German over Spanish.  We’re both introverted, but she tends to be more talkative overall, spilling her inner monologue to those she trusts, while I keep mine mostly to myself.  

We are incredibly different people, and at somewhat different places in life, so it’s hugely unfair to compare us.  I know this, and I’m guilty of it anyway.  But this comparison and sometime-feeling of inadequacy and — I have to admit — jealousy is reduced to nothing when I think about the fact that she’s MY sister, and I am so incredibly proud of her.

My sister is an amazing human being.  We are each other’s confidants even if we haven’t talked in weeks.  Although we don’t discuss everything (just because we don’t live together anymore), we can discuss anything.  And we are very good at admitting our differences in beliefs and outlooks and discussing them in an intelligent manner.  Mostly what I’m trying to say with this rambling paragraph is that I really love my sister, and I’m so excited for the trip she’s about to go on, and I’m really going to miss her while she’s gone.

Honestly, I wish everyone had a sister like mine.

Murphy 313

It’s a dusty, 12-foot-by-12-foot little room.  It’s got cockroaches in the summer and asbestos year round.  The tile is cold and grimy and so is the furniture.  Two windows that don’t open all the way and a door that likes to slam round it off.  It sounds disgusting because it is.  But it’s one of my favorite places in the world, and I’ll never see it again.

I grew so much in that nasty little dorm room.  I learned to be myself, to express my emotions, to love and to let myself be loved.  That room was filled with laughter and people at all times.  My roommate and I watched chick flicks and rearranged our furniture and attempted microwave cooking together in that room.  My other friends and I talked about faith and relationships and working out.  I hung out with people I barely knew in that room.  I did so many new, exciting things.

It also lived through some not-so-nice things, like the week he and I almost broke up.  Like the months my roommate realized she was in the wrong major and had no idea what to do with her life.  Like the times friends came in crying over boys and grades and life.

That room represents true friendship.  My first family-that-is-not-related.  It represents the struggle of learning to balance school with social life.  It represents learning to confront people.  It represents growth.

That room has seen many late nights.  Just one very memorable all-nighter (Truth or Dare is still a thing in college).  It’s seen many sleepovers with girls piled on the floor in sleeping bags and blankets.  Many deep discussions.  Many more very stupid discussions.  (Like what if toes were people?  Would they be little families?)

That room witnessed the first time someone asked me out.  It heard the many conversations about my misgivings and insecurities.  It saw my very first kiss.  It listened the first time he whispered, “I love you.”

Only two of us lived there, but numerous lives were squished into that room.  We supported each other, annoyed each other, and made each other laugh — really, really hard.  We created our own family for ourselves even though we came from many different backgrounds.  We were comfortable there in that room, surrounded by a place that was often just the opposite.  It was home.

That room is gone now, with its cozy nooks and rusty desks and slug-shaped paint splotch on the ceiling which I dubbed my pet, Fred.  Those cinderblocks, that knew many, many people intimately, are being replaced by safer drywall.  That floor, on which we spilled coffee and nail polish remover and remnants of our hearts, is now being re-tiled.  That bed, where I did homework and cried and held the boy I love, is being moved out in favor of a newer, streamlined model.

But I hold on to that room.  I became myself in that room.  Over the years, I’ll forget the details of how it looked and what all we did.  The colors will grow fuzzy and the windows murky.  I won’t recall what happened when someone asks, “Remember that time when…?”  But nothing will change the fact that I gave a part of myself to that room.  Nothing will change the fact that I added my life to those walls.

If those walls could talk, oh, the stories they would tell.

Murphy 313

In response to the Daily Post prompt “Places.”