Up in the Hayloft

by Jann Gargiulo — We were a very loving family. That word “loving” meant different things to different people. I learned all about that when I moved to the third floor bedrooms! But, that took years to learn.
It was only one year and four months before Ruthie came upstairs and I had to move again. This time into another bed in the same “room.” I was put in the same bed as Charlotte! She was a grouch before there ever was a Sesame Street! No one wanted to sleep with her! But, Joan was in there too so she would keep Char under control.

My big wish then was to sleep with Doris. See, we had a connection of sorts, we were both born on the same day! Just thirteen years apart! She was on a school field trip to the Washington Zoo the afternoon I was born and she always teases that I am a souvenir that she brought home from the zoo that day. Because she said that so often and it hurt my feelings, I asked her if she would take me up in the pencil some day. (That’s what we called The Washington Monument.) She promised. But, to this day she has never taken me! That is the only promise she made to me that she didn’t keep. Of course, we are both still living, so there’s time.

I never told you what the bedroom looked like, did I? Well, I must say that I was surprised when I first saw it. Have you ever seen the hay loft in an old barn? Well, the old ones were pretty much just one big open room, with a small area on one end set for the equipment to haul up the bales of hay. The hay was then stacked in all of the open space of the huge room. At the other end of the room was a very large opening with two windows that pushed out. From outside a large slide of sorts was attached to the window ledge to allow the bales of hay to slide down when they were needed.

Of course we no longer used it for a barn or to store hay … just kids! The room that housed the equipment, now held two full beds for the boys. The side with the big window was the girl’s bedroom, with 3 full beds and one twin. There was a curtain momma made at the boys room. The stairs were those wrap around stairs, and there was a door at the bottom of the stairs; also the only light switch. So, daddy would stand down there until everyone was in bed, then we would all yell together, “Turn out the light!” Daddy would switch off the light as he said good night.
I felt such love after that little routine every night; I thought we all did. It was many, many years before I found out that there was one in the family who did not feel that love. I wish I could go back in time and change that.

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