Some of the things I did as a youngster make me laugh now.
One of my favorite pastimes was decorating my bedroom. It was my way of staking a claim and marking it as mine. Unfortunately, the walls were covered with moss green paneling, and there was matching 70s plush carpet everywhere, not a lot for a budding interior designer to work with.
It was a makeover challenge worthy of HGTV, so I rolled up my sleeves. For a time the walls were covered from floor to ceiling in glossy 8 by 10 posters of my favorite teen idols ripped from the pages of “Teen Beat” magazine and stuck to the walls with masking tape.
The only place to get the magazines was our local grocery store, so when Mama headed for the frozen foods, I made a beeline to the magazine racks, crossing my fingers and hoping the latest issue of “Bop” was waiting for me, never mind that she had a husband and four boys to feed out of her grocery money.
I was probably 13 by then, so I would wait until I saw Mama lugging her overfilled buggy into the checkout lane, grab the magazines and slide them behind the Coca-Colas or cereal. Then off we went, Rob Lowe, John Stamos, and all my other crushes to decorate the walls of my adolescence. I even had a framed photo of Ricky Schroeder on my dresser, quite the conversation piece on a young boy’s dressing table in Perry County, Mississippi.
I remember once I went into Mama’s armoire where she kept all the bed linens. It was there that I found a plethora of design essentials to transform an ordinary bed into something fabulous. Imagine her surprise, or horror, when I stripped my bed to replace the beige linens with mixed- matched pillowcases in fuchsia, turquoise and polka dots. I even got inspired and draped floral sheets and lace panels over my windows for an added burst of drama. Her reply was simply her standard for most occasions, “Lord have mercy, Jesus!”
On Saturday nights I sat on the floor of my room waiting patiently for my favorite songs to come on the radio so I could record them to cassette tapes for play on my portable jam box. It took considerable skill holding down both the record and play buttons on Daddy’s old black recording device waiting for the radio personality to stop talking and the song to begin, not to mention listening intently until just before the end of the song to press pause before the commercials. I organized my cassette mixes alphabetically from Air Supply to ZZ Top and danced around the room pressing rewind and fast forward a lot.
Years have passed, and I have better draperies now. Still, if only I could go back in time I would lie on the floor of my room staring up at all my teen idols, play us a song by Madonna, and fall asleep on my hot pink bedspread, just for a laugh.
Contact David at [email protected]