Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Story of a Switchplate

Do you remember the series, "Everybody Has a Story?" It was a regular feature on one of the morning news shows, I forget which. There was this fella who travelled around the country selecting random people to interview and put the story of their lives on TV. Apparently (from what I remember, anyway) he would randomly select a U.S. city by closing his eyes and pointing to a map. When he arrived in that town, he would find a telephone book, open it up, and call the person his finger happened to fall on. (Kinda like some of us read the Bible.) Anyway, he always found something fascinating about each person, and it was fun to see where he would go or who he would meet next.

As an amateur, relatively infrequent blogger I'm beginning to realize that not only does everyone have a story (if you don't believe that, check out Cheeky Pink Girl and Ginny and Therese and Allison, to name a few. There are so many fascinating stories out there in the blogosphere, I wish I had time to read them all!) but you can find a story behind just about anything under the sun. Like, say, a light switch cover.

In my last post, I told you about how we moved Larry from the room he shared with his younger brothers to his own digs across the hall. It looks like any other teenage boy's room: a desk with a computer (which I'm not convinced is the best idea, but we're giving it a trial run, anyway), trophies on the shelf, a racing poster on the wall--and I'm sure he will accumulate more teenage stuff as time goes on. After we moved all his stuff in, he told Joe he REALLY wants to get a new cover for the light switch; the cutsie Noah's Ark design just isn't going to cut it.

I started thinking--that switchplate is the last remaining remnant of our boys' babyhood that we haven't packed up and put away (or given away, or thrown out). It serves as a reminder that this room--which more recently housed their electronic piano and their computer and their books, not to mention the closet overflowing with clothes that should have been taken to Goodwill long ago--was once the place where we kept the crib and the changing table and the baby clothes. All three of the boys have slept in this room at one time or another, and as they grew out of the crib and into a big-boy bed, we moved them into the bigger room next door.

When I was pregnant with Larry, I was teaching in a large public school in Maryland. When it was time for me to go on maternity leave (which turned into a nine-year career as a full-time stay at home mom), the teachers threw a baby shower for me. The art teacher, who had organized the party, told everyone that I didn't know whether I was having a boy or a girl (which was true), and that I had chosen a Noah's Ark theme for the baby's nursery. Well, I don't know where she heard that, but I hadn't chosen any sort of theme. I figured we'd just fill the baby's room with basic run-of-the-mill baby stuff--in fact I wasn't aware that I was "supposed" to have a theme. The idea never crossed our minds. Of course, we ended up with a Noah's Ark theme, because my fellow teachers gave me all kinds of Noah's Ark baby things, and I'm sure the light switch cover was one of them. When Joe and I finally bought the furniture, we chose a Noah's Ark theme for the coverlet and the sheets and the bumper and things for the crib, since we had all that other stuff anyway, and after all, we liked the Noah's Ark theme.

(Even after all those gifts, the room was only slightly Noah's Ark-y. But we did have books and bookends and clocks and pictures on the wall with the caption, "God Keeps His Promises," and of course, the cute coverlet for the crib. As for the snowy picture on the far wall? My grandmother painted that.)

When we moved to Virginia, Larry was less than a year old, and we set up one of the bedrooms as the Noah's Ark Nursery. All three of the boys slept in that room when they were babies, and eventually they were all moved to the larger bedroom that they shared. The nursery became a storage (er, junk) room, and later their computer room. All that is left of the Noah's Ark days is the lonely light switch cover.

I suppose we'll eventually replace it with something more teen-friendly. Maybe I'll put it in our guest room. My grandmother's painting is in there now.

We ended up with a "theme" for the boys' shared bedroom, too. Sometime I'll tell you about how that came about.

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