The solace of one’s childhood room

Sieste the cat in my old bedroom

The view (featuring Sieste the cat) of one of the Manse’s spare bedrooms – the childhood room of my sister, Melanie, and me – from my perch in the corner one recent dark and stormy night. The gently glowing light, the happy sleeping cat, and the sheer fact that it was my childhood bedroom brought great comfort on a cold and rather lonely night.

It was a windy, rainy night at the Manse on Sunday night, and I was feeling a little lonely and blue, what with Raymond being off in Montreal and me having a lot of worries on my mind. Amid dinner-for-one preparations (leftovers) and a bit of house-tidying work, I ended up in the southernmost bedroom upstairs – as it happens, the bedroom that my sister, Melanie, and I shared when we were growing up at the Manse. It’s currently used as a guest bedroom on the relatively rare occasions when Raymond and I have overnight visitors, and in our renovation plans for the house we picture it as the main bathroom (you can read about my inspiration for that eventual lovely bathroom here). But at the moment, not a lot goes on there most days.

It is, however, the place in the house where the signal for our mobile phones works best, and so when I’m trying to have a phone conversation with someone of an evening I often end up there in an attempt to actually hear and understand what that person is saying. So there I was on Sunday night, perched on a rickety chair in the corner of the room where the desk at which I did my homework once stood, phone in ear, chatting with my Aunt Marion and, later, my mum, and later still, Raymond. And outside the wind howled (the tail end of the awful storm system that saw tornadoes blast through Illinois) and the rain came down, and it was just your ultimate dark and stormy night. In a silent little hamlet with not many people about. It really was enough to give a person a lonely feeling.

But my phone conversations were connecting me to the outer world. And my cat Sieste wandered in while I was having them, made herself perfectly comfortable smack in the centre of the bed, and curled up for a nap. And as I looked at her looking so snug, I realized how warm and cozy and comfortable it was inside our big old Manse as the weather stormed outside. And it also struck me that it felt comforting just to be back in my old childhood bedroom – a place of refuge, almost. Shelter from the storm.

Apparently that is reason number 5,762 (of an indefinitely numbered list) why it can be a good thing to buy – and return to – the house where you spent your happy childhood: comfort and solace on a stormy night.

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