Monday, May 14, 2007

On Sleeping Alone...

Growing up, our house had a 7 head minimum, not counting any pets or animals. The home in which we lived the longest was a sprawling old, added onto house that had 3 bedrooms & 2 baths by the time we arrived.
Mom & Dad's bedroom connected to my brothers bedroom by a Dick & Jane bathroom. My sisters had an added-on bedroom, that shot off the side of my brothers' room and if I remember correctly there was no door seperating these rooms, but a sliding glass door often left open to keep kids & animals alike from walking right into it.
My two older sisters had twin sized matching four-poster white beds and a wonderful old record player, that when weighted with pennies would belt out the Beatles, much to my heart's content. When not romping around the neighborhood, I would spend my days there while my sisters were at school. Much to their discontent, I would crank up the Beatles... shake it, shake it, shake it baby, now. Shake it up baby! Twist & Shout!... and I would twist & shake until the cramps doubled me over. Then I would do skin-the-cats from their bed posts, flipping my feet over my head, allowing my bottom to soar to new heights as I allowed all the blood to rush to my head...thus easing the sensation of twisted side cramps.
But when the girls ventured in from school, it would be time for me to leave that room. I learned quickly that it was best to be gone before they got in... so that I wouldn't have to hear them moan about how I was going to scratch their records, how their bedposts were loose or about my dirty little footprints left on their walls and dressers. (yup, I did up-the-walls before break-dancing was mainstream some 12-15 years later)
I would wander through my brothers room. They had one very large dresser with 6 or 7 drawers, in which we each(the boys & I) had one large drawer and one small drawer. There was also a big old bed in there.
Sometimes I would sleep in that bed there with the two boys, as we were closer in age & size. I'll forever remember the hum of Curt's breathing and the smell of his breath. More times than I can count, I'd venture out of that bed determined that I could not possibly find sleep nestled between these two sleeping souls with all their little breathing sounds and scents.
My parents once bought a cot & set it up in between my two older sisters' twin beds for me to sleep in, but that didn't last long. I hated it & moaned that it wasn't a real bed. The girls hated it too. They were older & really didn't want me in their room at all.
Dad usually fell asleep on the sofa with the tv humming, a book in hand & a dilluted glass of 'phew' on the coffee table.
Curtyboy was always the first to fall asleep & I was often the last, so that meant that I frequently just climbed into the bed with my Mother, who usually had Chantyboy with her until he fell asleep. Then she would tiptoe him into the bed with Curtyboy. She would tell me that I didn't need to be sleeping in there & I would ask her why Johnny Carson had a monkey on his head.
I never slept alone.
Then CurtyBoy went to the hospital down the street & stayed there. Among a million other things, it meant that there was one less body in that big old bed. Momma would never put Chanty into that big old bed alone & since Dad continued to sleep on the sofa, Chanty slept with Momma.
After the house fell silent, I padded my way to the bed that held Momma & Chanty. I put my chin on the edge of the bed close to Momma's face. The TV was whispering stuff about Nixon & Momma's breath was coming in sweet puffs. I stared at her. puff. phweew.puff.phweew.
The sound of her breathing terrified me. i thought each breath was her last. I leaned in my face closer to her face. I lifted one knee up onto the bed. vwoomp! Her eyes bolted open wide...'Paige, get in bed in the other room. I'm not going to have people sleeping all over this house & in my bed, when we have that big old bed sitting there empty.'
'But I never slept alone.'

To Be Continued...


tony said...

I would have envied you.I too lived in a Big House.But only Me& Brother (bigger,older,by 8 years)My Mum&Dad. When my brother left it was just Me & Mum&Dad. The house was too big for just us 3.We rattled about in it.
One Big Difference
We were a Rolling Stones Household !

Hammer said...

Everyone in their own bed was the rule at my house growing up. Strict bedtimes and procedures.

I guess being an only child made a difference

JustRun said...

Hmmm... I like sleeping alone so much sometimes I worry if I'll ever tolerate different.

singleton said...

Oh, Sweetie, you're right. Would be many years and many stories before you had a bed of your own.....
Hope you're still used to the comings and goings of dangling legs and dirty feet, huffings and puffings cause when we get to the beach, we'll be piled up everywhere! peace, love and bring your own pillow!

Scott from Oregon said...

Nebbah ebah?

These days, I snore like a spoon in a garbage disposal so I am forced to at times...

skinnylittleblonde said...

Lol, I beleive this was early '71, maybe & we too evolved into a Rolling Stone house! :) I can't imagine having a house in which we rattled or echoed, although there was almost always noise.

Hammer~ Being an only child surely made a big difference. We never had bedtimes & in hindsight my folks weren't very strict.

justrun~ Lol, I sleep most soundly when I sleep alone. But, as a kid it was something rarely ever done.

Singleton~ Ah Sisterlove, I have been trained well in the art of human dogpiling! Can't wait... sandy feet & all!

Scott~ Lol, I probably had, but just don't remember it as well as this night in particular. I was about 3 and a half when Curt got diabetes, he was 5, and it was while he was in the hospital that I remember my sleeping status becoming an issue. Sleeping alone really allows for the most sound sleep anymore, but it is rare. I heard that the snore patches work pretty well...but you may prefer to sleep alone ;)

Angela Marie said...

My sister slept with me up until we moved into a bigger house. I had to have been in the 3rd grade. I didn't mind it. We would giggle and get yelled at to keep it quiet and to go to sleep. I did get on my mom about cutting my sis's toe nails though! She would scratch my legs! OUCH!!

Bardouble29 said...

In my childhood sleeping was terrible, due to many different circumstances. I would have loved having a big family to have someone to snuggle with.

paddy said...

So nice to be small and cuddle in amongst anything you can find that's bigger than you are except for the "puff" here and there.
Nice story.Y;-) Paddy

skinnylittleblonde said...

angela marie~ How nice! I imagine had my sisters & I been closer in age, we would have been much the I so adore them. Singleton graduated when I was 7 & promptly moved out.

(((bardouble)))Although, I don't think I snuggled too much with the boys. LOL, more like I would lay there & watch their sleeping faces wondering if they would wake up or if I would just eventually fall asleep.

paddy~ lol, I was actually terrified that she was dying. Each time she puffed, I thought it was her last breath. I probably could of or should of put that into the post, maybe I'll work it into part 2. Lol, I just feel like my posts are so damn long. I'm a rambler...

skinnylittleblonde said...

Paddy~ Lol, three sentences. I added them. On another note, Mother was the only one that I really wanted to snuggle with I was little Is that evil? The boys were, well, they were boys & the girls were older & bugged me as much as I bugged them.

linalani said...

our house was small and there were too many of each night we would bunk in front of the tv in the living room and sleep together...sisters u see:D

wreckless said...

My daughter used to come in and sleep with us every so often. She soon learned to snuggle in with me because I wouldn't get angry. Even though I was crammed and hot, I liked the fact that she wanted to be with us. Now it doesn't happen and I am often "begging for love" as I call it to get snuggles.

SpongyBones said...

This was great! Reminded me of when I was a kid. During the holidays everyone would come and stay at our house. I'm the baby out of six of us kids. I always had my own space. I was too damn mean to sleep with (I kick).

Matt said...

Have you slept alone since? :)

Mel said...


I wanted the top bunk.
Did I get it?! *sigh* Nope.

I ended up on the floor just the same--probably good cause not to give me that top bunk, eh?

And then I had the bunkbeds all to myself when the two sisters moved out.......and STILL slept on the bottom bunk.

Whatsup with that?

skinnylittleblonde said...

linalani~ beautiful!

wreckless~they grow up so own mom would probably be more accepting of me climbing in her bed now than she would have been 35 years ago.

spongy~lol, somehow that doesn't surprise me...a born fighter! I was told that it was my razor sharp elbows that everyone hated.

matt~Not too often, but when I do, it's very good!

mel~ lol, like they say 'be careful what you ask for 'cuz when you get it, you may not want it'

Shrink wrapped scream said...

I too played "musical beds". Nothing more comforting than to snuggle up to a sib, safe and warm.

I could taste the love and warmth radiating from the page. You have the gift of language girl, and you use it well - all power to you! x

mindy said...

beautiful writing.
i used to watch my mom and dad sleep. once while standing at the end of their bed, their alarm went off and down to the floor i went and scooted out on my belly before i was caught. i was so scared. i don't know why though. i had forgotten about that until i read this. it's funny, jaron is 3 and sneaks into our bed every.single.night. hahaha!
i don't mind though, i like snuggling with him. :)

Enemy of the Republic said...

I came from a big family with lots of relatives. Maybe that is why I am such a loner now.

Orhan Kahn said...

Why am I not suprised that there were so many souls under your roof.

Can't believe you ventured into break-dancing to the Beatles. The would be proud.

I can generally only sleep alone. Unless I'm incredibly comfortable with the person sharing my bed.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Shrink~ 'Musical beds'... Ha! Yup! That was it & sometimes still is! You my dear, are an exceptional writer... a true writer, one who paints pictures with words but with out expectations...I am a rambler.

Mindy~ Yes, let Jarred climb on come a day he won't even want you to even hold his hand (puberty comes quick..blush,blush)

Enemy ~ lol, some of us do need a buffer zone!

Orhan~ Oh my... the dancing that used to go down & around those four post beds would make your head spin! P&L to you babe!

phaseoutgirl said...


We had a small house, but come to think of it, I also never slept alone while growing up. My kids were the same. When we were in Paris, we had this large bed, and another smaller bed next to it, and the three of us would squeeze in together, and the little one used to say we were like "refugees" but we LOVED being with each other... I love a warm body next to mine!!


she said...

beautiful read! love imagining you exploring the off-limits territory of your older sister's rooms while they were in school.. dancing, playing their records.. leaving dirty footprint evidence

and it inspires great memories.. the three of us hanging out at the foot of our mom's bed growing up

and now, my favorite, favorite, thing.. snuggling at night with my little ones, the sweetest conversations, prayers, musical beds until each one is fast asleep
in their own bed; sleepwalking back to me 'round midnight

stealin' my covers and pillow, hitting me in the face with a leg or elbow when they shift

and how i wouldn't trade it for all the world

and it's just so bittersweet here, in this story.. how, with your brother in the hospital, you worry more about your mom... need that reassurance: open your eyes! wake up!

-k-... i can sleep now.

skinnylittleblonde said...

phaseout girl~ I work at a retail establishment which is frequented by new home-owners & those that have just had their homes built. It is amazing how many people beleive that each child needs their own room. Too much space can be isolating, IMHO, for a little one. We are really blessed, aren't we? ;)

she~ Oh I am so tickled that this reminded you of such beautiful moments...elbows, knees & all! May there be many, many more moments like these for you & the generations of love you bring forth!
Funny, I really had no concept of what really was going on with CurtyBoy, but her puff-breathing was terrifying to me. Lol, when she opened her eyes that scared the bejeezus outta me, but releif that she was ok overwhelmed the, now I am married to a man that gets no rest because if his snoring because too ghastly I wake him up with fear that he is getting his last breath.

singleton said...

psssstttt...."Do you Want to know a Secret"? Kimbies and I were rocking out, dancing down last night to her new CD....
"chains, my babies got me wrapped up in chains, and they aint the kind, that you can seeeeeeeeeee, oh no, these chains of looooove, gotta hold on meeeeeeeee....."
etc, etc, etc.......
History repeats itself, baby!

Anonymous said...

Aw....'Shake it up Baby Now!' But soon sister, very soon 'I'm gonna bring a case of wine, so we can fool around, you know, like we used to...' (RS version, in my version it'll be a case of beer ;) In the meantime, I'm dealing with 'What is and what should never be...' ;)GILYSVMS


singleton said...

"Take my hand and come with me".....cause "She's gotta ticket to ride, she's gotta ticket to ride, and she don't care" .....Icing down the coolers, buttoning down the hatches, putting army boots on...Ain't nothing we can't do!
"In the end, peace wins!" Rocks!

kj said...

hey, singleton, don't think i can't figure out your letter codes! i write similiar ones to my best friend.

skinny, upon finishing this story, my strongest feeling was envy. i wish i had had beds to share.

also: i was dancing and singing in my own little room just like you. i still do,loudly, except now i'm in my car with the windows shut.