I grew up in a large Victorian house in a small city in Western Massachusetts. I had, and thankfully still have, seven siblings. We span fourteen years, so it was not long that we all lived together in that house. During my growing up years, the house was filled to the brim with children, my parents, sometimes my grandmother, an aunt or two, and a cat that we called Mother.
I have lots of memories of that house and that city. And now, lo! I live in a Victorian-era parsonage. It seems like old times when our grandkids sleep over and when the house is filled with visitors. But I do wonder, where are my siblings?
The part of the “growing up house” that is on my mind today is the many closets. Some Victorian houses are short on closets, but ours was rich. They were not “walk in” but some of them were “sit in.” In the back of the closets were bureaus and it was possible for a small to middle size child to push aside the coats or dresses and climb up on the bureau top and finally find a place to be alone. Quiet. If there was a light in the closet or if you had a flashlight you could read, and for a short while no one knew where you were. I loved being closeted in those days. Every kid needs a tiny space of their own.
Even I, who is sometimes short on getting irony, know that the closet of my youth is strangely similar and very different from the closet of the rest of my life. For a long time now I have not wanted to be “in the closet” and have pushed my way out of many.… [Read more…] about Closets, Then and Now, Open and Closed