Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Really, Really, Really Hot Attic Room

To prove that I didn't have a shred of wisdom in my nine year old body, I chose the attic room.  

The attic room was the single room on the third floor of our old, stately, brick house.  I loved the stairs leading up to the attic, because they weren't really stairs.  They were so steep they were really like a ladder. They looked so fun.  They were the stairs you could climb up.  And then come back down and scurry up.  So I chose the attic room after just looking at the stairs, having a strong and stupid belief that what lay at the top of them would be just as neat.

My sister, always one step ahead of me and eager to take advantage of the situation and come up with a result that suited her nicely, quickly chimed in.  "Great choice, Katie!  I'll take this front bedroom." That room--her room--was bright and cheery, with several windows on two different walls, a view of the Spanish moss hanging from the trees and a park across the street.  It was a lovely room.

As soon as she said that, I climbed the ladder to my new room.  Turns out that the ladder was really the best part of the whole room. My new bedroom was dark.  There was no view at all, because there were no windows at all.  Just wood-paneled, slanted ceilings that were even pretty low for a short kid like me.  I had to sink down and make myself hobbit-like.  My room was the dark attic.  If this house was the setting for a movie, this room would belong to the stepchild that no one wanted.  Or maybe a recluse teenage boy who hid in this dark attic while his parents did their best to forget about him.

The big, old house lacked central air conditioning.  And the house was number 25 on East 52nd Street in Savannah, Georgia, a city known for its hot and sticky summers.  The heat was on the list of things I did not calculate. 

Our house, built in the 1920s, had poor circulation; I'd venture to say it had no circulation. I quickly learned and never forgot: heat rises.  I soon realized my window-less attic room doubled as a sauna in the summer.  The hole in the floor that served as my door and only link to a cooler world was a mere five by three feet opening--it didn't allow for much air to pass through it.   It was so hot that I slept in underwear alone.  My  itchy thead-count-of-five, PX-purchased sheets did not provide any relief.  After weeks of being stoic and sweating my way through the night, I finally confessed to my mom that I was miserable in my upstairs bubble of heat.  She sat on my bed, listening empathetically to the details of my discomfort; her shirt started to stick to her while I talked. My mom wasn't surprised by this conversation.  I got the feeling that my parents were testing me, wondering how many nights it would take me to admit I had chosen poorly. 

Mom kindly suggested I sleep downstairs.


  1. always. <3

  2. I can only imagine your joy at first...the ladder to your room...the whole third floor...all yours! Too bad there was not at least one window...but I am sure those summer days had to have been mighty uncomfortable. Jackie