Saturday, February 12, 2011

Georgina's bedroom

When I was a girl I would often spend the night at my Aunt Georgina's house. She lived with her mother, my grandmother, in a wonderful old house in Vancouver's Mackenzie Heights.
Her bedroom was up this wonderful wooden stairway. They were painted brown, and there was no carpet on them. Just brown wood that echoed as you clopped up them to bed. Her bedroom was like a fairy land to me. A double bed with matching vanity and dresser, and a walk-in closet. Her room was always incredibly tidy with a white chenille bedspread and white draped curtains. A little ceramic dutch boy and girl sat on a small shelf. She had only two books in her room that I remember - Little Women and Jo's Boys.
The ritual of bedtime in that house was amazing. My aunt would pin up her mother's hair and then my grandmother would pin up my aunt's hair. I watched this activity many, many times. There came a time years later, when my aunt was stricken with Alzheimer's, that I would pin up her hair in just that same way. The routine of it would always calm her down.
While the hair pinning was going on, the kettle would be warming on their gas stove. Once it began to whistle then it was time to fill the hot water bottle. In my aunt's house there was no such thing as a bare hot water bottle. They all had lovely handknit covers.
So, hot water bottle in the bottom of the bed, and me in the bed resting my feet on the cozy cover.
Then my aunt would sit at the vanity. I have never, before or since, seen anyone do this. Well, I have in movies, but not in real life. She would sit there and put cream on her face and neck, and put lotion on her hands and arms. She looked like a movie star to me. In fact, in some of her younger pictures she looked like Judy Garland.
And then she would come to bed, and we would read aloud from one of the books with our feet resting on the cozy covered water bottle.
And often we would get the giggles about one thing or another, and Granny would call up the stairs for us to settle down.
It was magical. I can still smell the smell of the linen on the bed, and the cream on her face and hands. It was magical. I always imagined she was like Jo, in Little Women. Not your typical girl, but wild and free and stubborn minded. She actually, in many ways, was none of these things, but she was mine, and I loved her with my whole being. Even 2 1/2 years after her passing, I still love her with my whole being.

1 comment:

  1. When my mom died I was 11. I went to live with my grandparents and my aunt Stella. Your description of Georgina made me think of Stella and her bedroom. Maybe this is worth a blog too.


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