Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Place To Hide

I don't know what year the house we grew up in was built — but even then it was an older single-family house with a living room, dining room, and kitchen on the first floor and three bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor.  Originally it must've been a house without indoor plumbing because it seemed as if the bathroom was plunked into a bedroom and someone stuck the tub, toilet, and sink around the perimeter of the room and left a big empty space in the middle. Sometimes when my brother and sister were picking on me — relentlessly — I locked myself in that bathroom until our parents came home. The only other thing on the second floor was a door that opened to another full flight of stairs up into the dark and dusty attic.

The attic was one huge unfinished space crowned by a peaked roof with exposed criss-crossed rafters. The rough brown wooden planks ran the length of the house. There was a single window on three sides that brought in some light, but the space was full of stuff you had to climb around and you were always in danger of getting huge splinters from just about anywhere. Still, at times it was the safest place in our house.

I loved that attic.  I loved the old suitcases, boxes and trunks with old things, worn things, used things. Clothes and papers, old toys, photographs that weren't ours. Things that no one really cared about but me.  Up in that attic you were removed from the world below.  You could hear the shouting and the banging but it was muffled and seemed far enough away.

This isn't our attic but (thanks to Wikipedia) if you minus the plastic pipes and
the finished floor and those extra posts, and add in lots of junk, it will give you a bit of the feeling. 

Once when we weren't supposed to be up there and my brother and I were scrambling down those stairs, we tumbled. In the fall, at the bottom of the stairs where they turned, his foot kicked in a small triangular-shaped piece of wood and when we went to replace that board, there, hidden inside was a wad of cash!  It's hard to remember but I think it was at least a hundred dollars which at the time seemed an absolute unbelievable fortune!

Now, my place of refuge was not just a place to hide but a place to explore for buried treasure!

Luckily, every cloud must have its silver lining.


  1. I loved that attic too...I was certain that Nancy Drew had been there and she used it for a prototype in "The Secret In The Old Attic".......I loved the smell up there and for some reason I, too, spent a lot of time there. To this day now and then, I will get a whiff in the attic of a home that I am showing for sale, and it transports me back. LOVED seeing the picture. I have dreamt about buying back your house and mine on Summit Ave..........we should "goggle earth" them both. I did see some time ago where ours sold for $250,000...a good ways from the original $9,000 purchase price!,,,,,,,,,,,many thanks for the memories Lorraine

    1. Thanks Lorraine and glad you have such fond memories of that place too! Wish I could remember the smell, but I can't...I'll have to reread "The Secret In The Old Attic"...!