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When I was YOUR Age...Part 1
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
I canít help think that by todayís standards, my childhood positively sucked. No iPhone, no television in my room (although I did have a pink princess phone) no Internetóhell, no computer! But hereís the real kicker ó not only didnít I have a room of my own until I was about eight or so, I had to share sleeping space with my PARENTS. And as for the bathroom, I had to share that with four other people, one of whom was a shower-aholic. My childhood dream as a little girl wasnít getting a pony, it was having a second bathroom and an answering machine. While my brother was draining the heater of precious hot water, the phone rang off the hook for him.
So when I see co-workers and customers sweat details about the dťcor in their kidsí rooms, I canít relate. My childhood memories of mom and dadís room include my crib, later a twin bed, shoved against one wall. A couple of bureaus, a double bed with headboard, and a shortwave radio with a huge speaker were the other big furniture items. Throw in a toy baby carriage heaped with stuffed animals and dolls, plus all the clutter a couple of adults manage to acquire in 20 years of marriage, and you have a room that is functional, not fancy. Oh, did I mention the tripod my dad used to hang his slacks on?
As a kid, however, I didnít really feel deprived. I did want that extra bathroom, but one of the best sounds of my childhood was hearing my parents snore. I knew all was right with the world.
So I mentally roll my eyes when the frustrated decorators just canít decide what to do with a room. I ask apathetic teenagers about their favorite colors, I ask their moms the square footage of rooms. I try not to get sarcastic when mothers whine about the appropriateness of certain room ďthemes.Ē Listen, when I was your kidís age, I shacked up in mom and dadís room. Inappropriate? Well, screw you too. We were thankful to have a roof over our heads, and in the tradition of many families, Latino and non-Latino, we just made do. We werenít throwing grandma out of the house just so I could have a room of my own, although when she died, I did get my own space. I remember it was painted ďAlice Blue.Ē I canít remember the paint brand, but I remember that color. And I had pink gingham curtains. And thatís ALL the decorating I could remember getting, besides a few horse posters. And I didnít even get a chance to pick out the frigginí paint color! Forget about a ďtheme.Ē I was happy to have a room with a door I could close.
Sharing a room with your parents gets a little awkward once youíre past a certain age. When my brother moved out and I got an even bigger bedroom, it wasnít like I was into decorating that, either. The horse posters probably went up in that room, but I donít remember a theme. I do remember going from a tiny, very warm bedroom to one that seemed like a concert hall, and chilly to boot. Soon, the room filled up with too much crap to be properly ďdecoratedĒ and itís only been recently that I decided to do a little something with the room. Perhaps as a result of my childhood, my room is now pink and white. I proudly show customers the curtains I used in my room (pink). Itís still a work in progress, and will be for quite some time. I want it to look like a little girlís bedroom. This probably creeps my customers out, but I donít give a ratís ass. I donít want my room to ďgrowĒ with me as I ďmature.Ē I want the room I should have had when I was eight.
But I didnít realize how deprived I was until I heard parents and children around me worry their heads off. From their viewpoint, my childhood probably looks pretty sad. To me, itís looking better and better as time goes on. The technology sucked, but at least I didnít have to worry about visitation rights. Iíll trade sharing a room with my parents over being a child of today. Now, if I can just get a Hello Kitty lava lamp.