The Final Word: A room filled to the rafters with memories

Like many childhood bedrooms, mine was redone as soon as I went off to college.

When I was growing up the walls were yellow, the floors were hardwood, and I had the obligatory college pennant (Syracuse) hanging over a chest of drawers.

Across the room was my twin bed and a bed stand that held a rudimentary lamp that I made in wood shop. It's true. I got a C.

There was a desk, complete with one of those gooseneck lamps, where I was supposed to do my homework but never did. I did that downstairs on the living room coffee table, sitting on the floor, leaning up against the sofa. I don't have a clue why.

But the minute I went off to college, my mother "decorated" my bedroom. I remember coming home for Thanksgiving, going upstairs, and finding a room wrapped in what appeared to be, well, miles of flowered wallpaper.

To make matters worse, there were matching bedspreads on what were now two twin beds, and the floor was covered with wall-to-wall shag carpeting that picked up one of the colors in the wallpaper. Orange.

(My mother should be given some slack here. It was the late '60s. Good taste was as rare as good sense in those days.)

While I appreciated her nod to my Syracuse Orangemen, I hated what she had done to my room. I have lived with it this way now for 42 years, and I don't sense a change coming anytime soon.

But it is still my room and always will be.

It's small. Not much bigger than a box, really. Maybe 12 feet by 12 feet, at most. It has one window that faces north, and it sits under the eaves, so the ceiling slopes down above both twin beds. I learned early on never to rise and shine quickly.

Despite its size, it has always been a popular gathering place during the holidays. When my niece and nephews were growing up, it's where they wanted to be. And sleep.

So, between the twin beds that held me and my partner, Jack, they slept on the floor. There were five of us — plus our dog — snug as bugs in a very orange rug. There are photos to prove this.

Now the nieces and nephews are married and sleep in other parts of the house, their spouses evidently not taken with the old sleeping arrangement, which is fine. Jack and I and the dog now luxuriate in our floral wonderland alone.

We will be there again this week, listening to Santa, who wanders but a few feet above our heads. Just as he always has.

Merry Christmas.