Friday, 6 January 2012


What a simple pleasure being in one's own private space is. As our family expanded and the three of us kids grew, the large bed upstairs no longer accommodated us like it once did.

Two years before I was sent to Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind, my dad built a bedroom in the basement for my sister, Diane, and me. To a six-year-old boy who admired his less-than-perfect dad, this was a wonderful development.

Each weekday during the winter of 1962, I raced home from school during the lunch break to see what Dad had added to it. witnessing the progress he made thrilled me. I watched in fascination as he laid the floor boards down. Excitement filled me as he built the walls and hung sheetrock on them. When I asked why he was shoving pink blankets into the ceiling, he taught me about Fibreglass Pink insulation and how it kept out the cold. After a few coats of paint, it was done.

Diane and I were ecstatic the evening Dad let us into our new bedroom. Our excitement knew no bounds. We each had our own bed to sleep in. Additionally, our new room had robin's-egg blue walls, pinkish-brown floor tiles, and the wood trim was a natural pine colour.

But it wasn't ours to enter and leave as we pleased. Dad locked the door during the day and only let us in before bed. He claimed to have a magic key that would only work if we didn't peek. Diane disobeyed one evening and discovered that Dad just used a nail to disengage the lock.

From then on, we played happily in our own special place. Whenever my brother, Roy, was having one of his violent tantrums or my parents were fighting like caged animals, that bedroom became our sanctuary. During cold winter days, or when it was raining, Diane and I entertained ourselves there. Both of our parents resigned themselves to our steadfast wish to use the room for more than just a place to sleep.

Fifty years have come and gone since that thrilling evening when Dad presented our new bedroom to us. The house is now owned by strangers but I still remember it as it was in my childhood. If those people have children, I hope they enjoy our special hideaway as much as Diane and I did.