There was a mystical room in our house back that lane on Neff Road. June and I often talk about it. At the top of the stairway was a very small room. In it Dad had configured pipes to create a rack on which to hang clothing. Across from the rack was a large bin containing one small section and one that was larger. Dress up clothing was in the small part and blankets were in the larger one. Our shoes were placed in a row on the top of the bins. Next to that was a wardrobe containing hats on the top shelf. Sheets on the middle shelf. Gloves and all sorts of odds and ends were on the bottom shelf. Dad and Mom’s shoes filled the bottom of the wardrobe. It was a room that reflected days of poverty and those years that were more prosperous. The clothing grew in size along with the girls who wore it. So why was this room so special?
My mother loved paisley. Almost every blouse she owned was of a paisley designed fabric.When Mom and Aunt Welma Johnson were wallpapering barren wall, they tackled the closet. On the last day I walked through that precious house, I stood in that closet of red paisley wallpaper and thought of the memories stored there. One reason this closet was so special was the big box hidden beneath the clothing in the back corner of that closet. Sometimes I would crawl back there just to make sure that big box was still in place.
It was this time of the year when Dad carried that huge box downstairs. It was a box of Christmas miracles. Each piece would be lifted from the box and placed where we could see it. Bubble lights, glass balls, an angel with spun glass hair, small figures that would dance on a mirror and memories galore. It was always so wonderful to find familiar items that took us all back in time. They were like old friends come home again.
Another item in that paisley room was a full-length mirror. I watched my older sisters apply make up in that mirror before leaving the house. Brenda and I paraded our dress-up clothes in front of that mirror. And, later I would stand before it checking out my own make up and take a last look at my wedding dress.
I never walked into that room that I was not surrounded by the presence of Mom and Dad. Dad stood at that mirror to tie his ties. Mom hounded her daughters to get ready for church. And on special days, Mom would get down the hats from the top shelf for her girls to wear or a furry muff for her youngests hands. It was a closet that held the essence of my family. A little paisley room.
When I step back through that mirror, I am surrounded by holiday laughter. Dad carrying that box in the corner, while Mom pounded out carols on the piano. The Loxley family paraded across that mirror and sealed their essence there forever. As I open my own box of Christmas delights, I am once again standing in that little room, watching Dad lift that box once more. It is that paisley time of year.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.