August 14th…“TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOYHOOD BEDROOM ON THE FARM IN MINNESOTA DAYS”
That lilting tune still floats through the portals of my heart strings…..“There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to, In my room, In my room” . The Beach Boys (a surfer rock n roll band) never visited our Minnesota farm, yet one of their songs, “In My Room” touched my young boy’s heart regarding the specialness of the space known as our upstairs boy’s bedroom. Nestled cozily, at the top of a narrow wooden staircase, was the male domain of us Noorlun brothers. Not long after I was booted outta the baby crib, I joined my big brother, Lowell, (and later my cousin) as we created our own “guy’s kingdom” in the tiny space of roughly a 6 foot by 8 foot room. I remember that the room was so small that, from the edge of our bed, there was a mere pathway along the stairwell railing banister for our sisters to walk along to get to their bedroom (which was massive in comparison).
I sometimes think that poor VERY OLD bed of ours may have been a swaybacked horse in a previous life (just teasing, of course). The box spring mattress was so worn out, that there was a lengthwise “valley” that we brothers inevitably rolled down into each night in man-mangled mayhem.
What easily made up for the swaybacked bed were our beloved mother’s heavy and laced-with-love quilts. In the frozen wintertime of southern Minnesota, Mom would pile our bed thick with her “one ton” quilts that easily captured our body heat to keep us warm and comfortable as we slept at night. The only room heat that we got upstairs in our farm home, was from the floor vent (called a grating) that allowed some heat to flow up from our downstairs Living Room.
Our bedroom window was a single-hung design where the lower sash (or section) could be lifted up a tracking to let in cooling breezes in the summer months. Two panes of simple glass were in the top of the window and two simple panes of glass in the lower sash of the window. Since our farm home was built back in the 1800’s, there was no such thing as “thermal pane” windows in those days. Here, in the dead of winter, our father attached what were called “storm windows” over our window to keep out some of the below zero temperatures. Yet, even with the “storm windows” that Dad installed, we boys would wake up in the morning to see what “Jack Frost” had “painted”, in ice, on our “glass easels”. On some particularly frozen mornings, you couldn’t even see anything outside of our windows due to the thick ice crustations on that thin sheet of glass.
It was one thing, in the life of our boy’s bastion, to be cozy under Mom’s quilts during the night………but it was a whole ‘nother story to brave those bone-chilling mornings and get OUT of that perfect womb of a bed and face the task of baring your body to our super cold room temps. So, upon waking, I would either drag my clothes under the blankets to dress in that subterranean warmth……or…..I’d leap out of bed, at the speed of light, and yank my clothes on over my quickly freezing lil body!!! After the goose pimples had receded all over my body from layers of clothing covers, I would then have a playtime at the frozen window by scratching pictures, words or my name in the thick frost……..just for fun!
For whatever reasons, I was born with a very prolific imagination. Sometimes, I think that imagination got the best of me when, at night in my room, I’d lay in bed and see what appeared to be a claw-like hand on the ceiling of my bedroom. The downstairs door was usually left open a bit and some of the light, from the Living Room, radiated upstairs. I can’t help but wonder if my jokester daddy was down there making shadows with his hand to scare this little kid…………if so, it REALLY worked!
A tender bedroom moment remains to this day of our beloved mother, Clarice, who would stand at the base of the stairwell each evening, after ushering her tiny ones upstairs. My sister, Candice, and I would climb into our respective beds and bring our hands to the prayer position as Mom would help us recite our family’s version of a bedtime prayer. Our diminutive child voices would softly recite………“Now I lay me, Down to sleep, I pray the Lord, My soul to keep. If I should die, Before I wake, I pray the Lord, My soul to take. Amen ><>
What a sweet mother we had, and such happy bedroom memories for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.