You can go home again, Bonnie Blue.

11 Aug

My bedroom is my refuge. It first became my room when I was 10 years old. Before that I lived in all the other upstairs bedrooms at one time or another. But they were all connected by a hall and were contiguous to each other and the hall. When in 1952, the addition my parents had been planning was completed, my room became the farthest one from any other. It was on the last north-most part of the house.

I loved being far away from the rest of the family and our nurse Renie. I had my own stairway and total privacy. There was a dog leg shaped hall that connect to my sister’s room. it was a long way from my room to hers. It was too far to hear anything from her room to mine or vice versa. My room also had a balcony. A balcony was something Juliette had. Princesses almost always had balconies. Princess Elizabeth came out on a balcony to wave. (She had not yet been crowned queen at this point). The balcony thrilled me deep in my soul.

 

My room went through several iterations. When I first moved in my parents tried to follow my wishes, but they simply did not understand what I wanted at all. However, they let me choose the wallpaper and the colors of things and they bought me a mahogany canopy bed. It has a curved top instead of square wooden tester. So I was not able to have curtains on the bed as I had dreamed about. Also the wall paper was so 1950s and so romantic it had nothing to do with the look I wanted. What I wanted would have been a room more for 18th century dark mahogany wood, bare hardwood floors of wide boards, white walls with woodwork panels painted blue and a chair rail and shutters at the windows. But that is not what I got.

Instead the walls were papered with a baby blue background color with sheer white flounced curtains held back with pink roses. It was a dream paper, for a little girl’s room And my curtains at the windows were the exact same sheer flounced curtains in the paper, and they were held back with pink silk roses just like in the wall paper. It was lovely. I did not get the floors I wanted but at least I was able to make them buy me a rug and let some of the hardwood show around the edges of an oval rug which was pink and blue floral design. My floors were almost blond and had narrow boards but at least it was wood and NOT carpet. I really did not like carpet.

Later as a teenager, I wanted the room to look like something I imagined in a Roman Villa (via Hollywood) and I asked to have it painted white. REAL white, not cream colored. This was in something like ’56 and NO ONE painted anything stark white. They did not understand what I wanted. What I got was a very pale creamy white, BUT NOT WHAT I WANTED. and they painted the walls this color but behind a double bed with a headboard there was a gold and white material papering the walls, and a french bed hanging from a small crown atop the walls and curtains swooping down from it. It was also romantic and very pretty and rather chic for a girl of my age, but it was NOT WHAT I WANTED. I did enjoy that room with all my friends, I spent hours there away from the family and just enjoying my music and my books. I loved the privacy.

Later that balcony became an occasional temptation for various boys. But it really did not cause much trouble because I was so “good” it never occurred to me to be bad. I thought about it but discarded the idea because I was afraid of discovery. So I lived in that room until I was married in 1961 at the age of 19. I was crazy in love with Charley and with the idea of being married. I wanted to leave my parents house so much I would have done anything to get out of there. But I was not trained to do anything. And I had a strong inferiority complex about being smart enough, educated enough and self confident enough to get a job.

What I did not realize was that I was extremely sophisticated and self confident about a lot of things other girls my age knew nothing. I was versed in protocol and knew how to throw a wonderful formal dinner party. I was comfortable with people of all different countries and could usually deal with thick accents and strange customs with aplomb. But all I really wanted at that time was to make love. That was uppermost in my mind because I had wanted it for years and years. At least 5 years since I was 14 and began to understand what a pleasure it might be. But as I have stated before, there was simply no way to experiment. That was forbidden, completely, in those days. No NICE girl allowed herself to become promiscuous or to gain a bad reputation. This was the great bugaboo. A bad reputation could NEVER be repaired. And I was to avoid that at all costs. And I did.

The irony of ironies is that I am back in my old room now, at the age of 76. I am living in my old house in my old room with my mother. That makes me sound like a terrible loser. However, I had a wonderful life over the years. I was married for 43 years and had 5 children who have produced 17 grandchildren for me. I have had several careers and some made me money and some lost my money. But they all taught me lessons. I enjoyed them all and basically, would not change anything. Though it would have been fine if I could have made money with a couple of the Internet based ones. But I did not.

Then I divorced and began writing a book which came out about 10 years ago.
I must write and so I have told the [family], “Look out, Mama is BACK!”

I am going to write and they are probably not going to like some of it.

One reason I am going on about my writing is that I have a real story to tell and my room is featured in that story. 4 years ago when I spent any time at all living in my old room it made me uncomfortable. I assumed it was because I wished to be somewhere else all the time. But finally as I spent more and more time here, I realized that part of the problem was the dingy color of the room. It had been redecorated after some years since my marriage. For years when my husband and I came back to spend the night, the room looked almost as it had when I left home. But sometime later they painted it pink. It had dusty rose painted walls and curtains and bed hangings and a back wall of a pretty chintz material.

Those curtains had blue flowers along with deeper pink ones, and I did not mind the print. But the walls were just plain dingy and unpleasant. I wished they were a color I liked. But the horrible idea of moving everything out of my bedroom, the closets and bookcases, moving the big furniture kept me from it. Then one day I was speaking of this and my son Robert said he had a man who could do it. I got a quote and agreed to do it. I had not moved up all of my things yet, so it was the absolute best time to do this.

As I was making my final move out of Barrsden Farm and staying those last few nights on the sofa there, Robert’s “man and a helper” were painting my bedroom. They moved the large furniture toward the center of the bedroom and covered everything with a clear plastic tarp. They took down the draperies and covered the wall that had material on it with plastic. They really did a great job. the color is best described as robin’s egg blue, though it is probably not that bright. But because blue reflects back on itself, it is a very vibrant bedroom. The color hits you like a splash of cool water when you enter the room. It is immensely satisfying to me. The color literally makes me happy. Just walking by my open door gives me a little boost of happiness.

Painting my room has turned out to be transformative. Everything about my life is better since that room became a special color of blue. The vibration is better. Better!!! It vibrates ‘positivity’ all the time. The change in how I feel about living here is remarkable.

If I had had any idea that a difference in the color would have so great an effect on me and my whole life, I would have done it sooner. That is why I love to tell people about this experience. Most people would not imagine that a color could change someone’s mood instantly. Who would have imagined that what really made me “OK” with moving up to Washington DC was how much I loved my room in it’s new color. If you are ever in a similar situation or maybe one of your children is unhappy for some reason. You might just explore the possibility of changing the color of the room. It is a nuisance, and it could be expensive, but my goodness; how effective!!

My bed and light streaming in from the balcony.

Because it was such a dramatic difference I urge parents to listen to their children about color. And for the good of adults reading this, I have learned that many people do not want to learn anything that is not compatible with what they believe they know already. So this is just something that worked wonders for me. Take it or leave it.

As I write this I can glance in the direction of my beautiful blue room and receive a little surge of pleasure just seeing the color. The room has eves on both sides which give it character. There is blue carpet on the floor which might be just ‘way too much’, except that I have spread an oriental rug on top of the carpet. it goes from the foot of the bed to a yard or so from the door where one walks in. That little 7 by 5 rug makes a huge difference by alleviating the total blueness of the carpet. And my nice queen size bed is centered on the North wall which has no windows. The french doors to the balcony are to the East and a dormer window facing West is on the opposite side of the room. There is a door into the very blue bathroom which has not been changed since 1952. It is all blue, the floor and halfway up the walls is all blue tile. The fixtures are blue too, except for the toilet which was replaced a few years ago with a white one. The bathroom is pretty tight because it was originally supposed to just be a half bath. When I begged my father to let me have this room for my own they had to figure out a way to put a tub in there too. And they did. But the toilet does sit a little under an eave in the roof. I am not sure what might happen if some tall man got up suddenly from a seated position, he might knock himself out.

I love my room. I love my life here in Washington DC. I enjoy that color more than I can say. And the lesson I learned is that a thing like an attitude can be transformed by color. The implications are amazing. Go for it!

 

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One Response to “You can go home again, Bonnie Blue.”


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