The Temple of Tidy

Do you remember your parents’ bedroom?

Mine was my mother’s, really.  My dad just slept in it.  During the day and the evening, it was the tidiest room in the house.  The bed was perfectly made, with its olive-and-cream embroidered bedspread and polished cedar bedposts.  Beside it, antique bedside tables, with mum’s ancient analogue clock and a couple of cream lace doilies.  Then the dressing table, with a mirror that I loved to look into as a teenager, because in it I looked vaguely like an emergent supermodel.  On the dressing table – mahogany I think, though I could be wrong – mum’s Things – a heart shaped expensive-pottery lidded box, more doilies, a comb or two…I don’t remember.  Everything just as it should be.  Pristine.

You weren’t allowed in Mum and Dad’s Room.  Even posing in front of the mirror, I felt justly guilty – this was Forbidden Territory.  I remember once as a small kid snatching something from the dressing table – a purse, I’ve been told – and rushing off with it.  I was caught halfway down the front path, my mum laughing too hard to really do the whole crime and punishment thing.  Later, Mum kept Christmas presents in the bottom drawer of her big wooden clothes chest.  Sometimes I sneaked in when they weren’t home to get a preview – I was always disappointed.  All I ever found was lavender bags, Big Undies and carefully folded long johns.

At night, it was different.  The bed was messed up by the presence of Mum and Dad – Mum neatly curled on the right side of the bed, Dad snoring through lean, hairy nostrils on the left side.  Once I dreamed that rabid people with hydrophobia were pursuing me through our quiet suburb, mouths a-slaver – so I crawled into bed with Mum and slept the rest of the night cuddled against her comfortably plump, motherly frame.  Dad snored on.

Later, the door was sometimes shut.  You knew not to open it.  Especially on a weekend afternoon, when Mum and Dad for some reason had abandoned the kitchen and the toolshed, respectively, and disappeared into a quiet space of their own.  You knew why, preferred not to think about it, but liked the thought that even now, they enjoyed one another.

MY bedroom – on the other hand.  As my kids grew up they took turns sleeping on the ‘other’ side of the bed.  Sometimes the losing kid would have a bad dream and I’d find myself sandwiched in the middle of the damn thing.  Now instead of a kid, a ratlike Pomeranian occupies the ‘other’ pillow, while a corgi cross perfumes the air with his own special brand of night-time fragrance.  I’m woken each morning by two bright eyes peering at me over the cover, or (on odd days) a loud thrumming noise as the cat makes early morning love to my ear.  My teenagers pop in to ‘borrow’ my deodorant and socks.  Less a temple, more a mall.  Oh well (I kinda like it though).

Now for something REALLY funny – Press Button for Drama (although, some people I know are just permanently on).  And for something challenging, how about Page of the Future.  What will your About Page look like in ten years?  What would you want it to look like?  Will it feature you riding a flying skateboard?  If I still have an About Page in ten years, I might as well title it Pathetic No-Life Nerd, but still….

Oh, and a short poem.


Swum lake in bra to rescue dog.

Dog rescued self.

Fed cave-boy carnivore, wiped grease off house.

And left –  $250 in the ATM!!

Rushed back to find

The cash long gone.

A whispered motto on the air.

Carpe diem.


  1. Hey, was that thing about $250 in the ATM true? I hope it was poetic license. Reminds me of the time I was in Amsterdam with a money belt zipper accidentally open. I bought something, put 200 odd Euro back in the belt and 30 seconds later saw it had fallen out. Retracing of steps recovered nothing. I guess there are sharp eyes always out there. But I hope your poem was fiction.

  2. Hmm, I wonder if my boys see my bedroom as off limits. Probably not since my old Nintendo game system is hooked up to the TV in there, and they sometimes still play it. And then make fun of its ancientness, at which point I remind them of Pong… (Did they used to play Pong in Australia?)

    Hope you enjoyed your bra swim, but so sorry about the money!

  3. Gosh, so sorry about the money. Ouch.
    My parents’ bedroom was also sacred and off limits. I used to open the door and stand on the threshold to bask in the wonders of its sanctity. Wow, sounds like church here too. 😉

  4. Great re-telling of your parents bedroom. We were allowed to go in my parents room, but I don’t ever remember sleeping in her bed. (kind of an unspoken rule – we had our own beds – this one is for me and dad)…Glad about the dog and the feeding of the boy, but that really stinks about the money. If I had been at the ATM after you, I would have run you down trying to give your money back…

    1. Yeah it did stink! It’s like, the week’s food shopping money plus one half! I wish you HAD been the one after me at the ATM. As it was, there was this old middle-European lady who keeps trying to sell me geraniums, and some young people at a desk collecting for a cause. So I’m thinking I may have unwittingly either have paid for $250 worth of geraniums or given a really big donation to something.

  5. Used to love sneaking around in parents and grandparents bedrooms when had the chance! …now that was an interesting week and crummy about the $$

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