Friday, June 29, 2007

Changes on the Second Floor

With 5 bedrooms on the second floor, this part of the house felt the weight of change more than any other. It was kind of cool, since every new member undertook the task of painting and redecorating their rooms with gusto. Richard and Sylvia's room, which they kept minimally decorated except for a gigantic Swedish Ivy which they placed in the turret was taken over by Jaime when Sylvia finally moved. He had a lot more stuff and was a lot less compulsive about orderliness than either of them. Laura moved into Jaime's vacated room and Donna moved into the corner bedroom next to the shared bathroom (where Dorie had lived for 2 weeks)I recall she kept an interesting looking tie-dyed scarf on one of her windows as a curtain which set us apart from our neighbors. (Like we needed that) Sheila's old room which was in back of the house and happened to be the warmest due to the Southern exposure, was home to Kate, then Steven, before he moved permanently to the attic, and then to Yarrow, a girl who we accepted into the house briefly to serve as a babysitter for the kids. I don't recall much about Laura's room except the smell of tobacco (She smoked Camel cigarettes) and a picture of herself in Katmandu. As to my room, I needed space, so I moved the dresser (where I found the silver dollars) into the hallway where it stayed for 21 years , and put a futon on my floor and a low trunk against another wall to serve as an altar for my Native American sand painting and various other religious icons.( When we broke up the house, I took the dresser and altar and still have both in my apartment along with other Big Gray relics). I also had candles everywhere, a small bookcase and a hanging red oil lamp (which Kim had hand blown). Laura called the room my "hippie seduction pad" which wasn't too far fetched during the Aids- free 70's.

After Donna and I became lovers, we decided to take advantage of the "Couple Compromise"and move in together. That would also ease the burden of paying for two rent shares. After talking to Laura who was happy to move into Donna's room (It had a non-working but beautiful fire place) I moved out of my room , Laura moved out of her room and into Donna's, and Donna and I moved into Laura's old room (This was the room in the middle of the connected rooms that was made into two bedrooms by sealing the sliding door between the two "halves" of the front bedroom . That left my room vacant. We advertised again for a new roommate and found Andrea, a secretary for the then small, Natural Resources Defense Fund. Andrea looked very straight, but was really into our life style. (For years after she left, we continued to get mail from the various newsletters she subscribed to from spiritual and New Age communities). She moved into my old room and lived at the house for a short time. Her "claim to fame" at least as far as Big Gray is concerned, is that she became Steven's lover. Also, while walking home from the subway one day, she met a young 21 year old guy from the neighborhood whose name was Matt. He was a cabinet maker by trade, but his passion was the chopped-up Harley Davidson motor cycle which he had constructed and given a ride to Andrea on. Matt became part of our circle of friends and gave us all many thrilling rides on his Harley(including my eldest daughter who burnt her leg on the tail pipe of the bike). When, after her tumultuous and loud affair with Steven , Andrea left, we filled her spot by again recruiting locally. A potter from a local craft store became our next member. Her name was Barbara and she would go on to become a key player in our history.


Nan said...

how can i contact you other than thru comments?? tricky this... I will be up north this summer and would like to see you and meet your new spouse. going to Saugerties?

Cheman said...

Hmmmmm...yes, difficult to answer. If you haven't been getting my emails, I assume you've changed your address. Ah! I know. My phone number is still in the Queens book-- @63 Drive in Rego Park.

Carol said...

Thanks for writing this.