One Year Later

by Jann Gargiulo — It has been one year since I started writing for Foolish Times. Last year, in my first story I said that I was going to tell you what was upstairs in our barn that became a home. I went the whole year without another word about it. Let me correct that now.

So, we are going to take a little trip, pack in time to our old barn-house on the farm. Let’s go!

It’s about 1956. We come in the front door and right away feel comfortable. I think it’s the smells of wonderful foods cooking and that pot of coffee perking! Look! There’s a cup for you! We sit and chat with my mom while we have coffee and a fresh biscuit and her put-up jam…strawberry, Yum. Now, she has work to do and we do too, sort-of.

We go up the first flight of steps. There is a landing and you turn back to see my mom already at her work. Just five more steps to the second floor and down the long hallway. To your left is the living room. Nothing special in itself, only the family makes it special. To your far right is my parent’s bedroom. We can’t go in there. And just before that is a closed door. If you have permission you can open the door. You don’t! But, I live here so I can, and you are with me. Besides, there is no one here to tell on us.

I turn the door handle and it squeaks. (Seems right somehow!) We both laugh. Then we slowly begin the climb…wait! Close the door, we don’t want anyone to know we’re up here. We laugh again. Maybe someone else did the same thing before us!

To your immediate left is the boy’s room. Granted, it was too small for the five of them, but they got rid of Ray just months after Buddy was born so it was really just four of them. The other side and the middle are for the seven girls. We need it too, because three of those girls are teenagers!

There was a large, elegant full bed at the very top of the stairs; that was Elsie’s bed. A few times my mom let me take a nap there. I slept so nicely.

I never understood the sleeping arrangements … I ALWAYS got Charlotte!!! She was “The Boss” before there was one! I usually just scooted under the bed and slept there. No covers, but no Charlotte either!

The greatest thing I learned upstairs was something one of my brothers showed me (he told me not to tell anyone else). He’s in Heaven now; I don’t think he cares any more.

If you can imagine the shape of the roof of a traditional barn. Now draw a line from one edge of the lower roof top to the other. See the space between the lowest edge of the roof and the next fold of the roof? When the barn was converted that space was not used as part of that room, in our case the bedrooms. A slab of wood is secured in place, usually with insulation. We had the wood, but no insulation. And did I say, “secured?” Not in our house! Larry showed me how to slide the wood out of place, get down inside, put the wood back in place and crawl to whichever sibling I wanted to hear! Some of the stories I heard! Why I could have retired at 12, if only I hadn’t promised Larry!

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