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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Attic Playground

Do houses today still have attics? Newer ones do not, at least not like the ones I grew up with. Attics were a space right under the roof, filled with treasures in storage. It was a place of mystery, dim light, and maybe one small window where the roof peaked. My grandparents had an attic in their old farm house, as did my cousins who lived in old farmhouses. Attics were a place of discovery, imagination, and fun. My grandparent's attic was an antique store of items from the past. Tables, lamps, chairs,no longer needed, but not worthy of being tossed out, lined the walls. The greatest treasures were the old trunks. Some were square with brass locks, leather straps, and leather handles. Some had rounded tops, and fancy locks. Inside the treasures were varied. I remember my cousins and I spent a lot of time looking through these trunks. Inside one were old clothes my grandparents had worn when they were young and newly married in 1906. Ladies dresses were long, long sleeved, and ruffled, lacy, elaborate pieces. My grandfather had shirts that had separate collars and cuffs. This was so the whole shirt did not need to be washed each time, but the collars and cuffs could be. Since the suits they wore had vests, most times the collar and cuffs were the only things to show, so they could put different ones on the same shirt, and no one knew it was the same shirt. Shirts also had interchangeable buttons. My grandfather had a button box, filled with all his buttons.

We found my grandmothers shoes, which were high topped, and had buttons. She had many button hooks, because fingers could not manipulate the tiny buttons into the loops on the shoes. Then there were petticoats, corsets, and bloomers. All edged with lace, and satin ribbons. We used to laugh at all this, because to we 50s kids, these were very odd garments. Also in the trunks were hats, because no lady or gentleman would go anywhere without a hat. Again all styles, all shapes that were turn of the century popular. Probably the best find ever were love letters grandpa Frank, wrote to grandma Anna when they were courting. People then courted, not dated. That has a nice sound to it, don't you think? Sometimes those days of manners, gentility, and modesty would be nice to bring back. Of course we Grandkids thought these letters of undying love, and flowery language were quite funny. I wish we had kept them.

My next attic was in our old house in Sioux City, Iowa. Steep stairs (attics always had steep stairs) again led to a magical place. This attic had one window, and sloped walls. Miscellaneous items were stored there, and boxes were filled with treasures from my parents' past. Old clothes from the 30s, old letters, and again hats and shoes they no longer wore, but could not part with. My friends, and again,
Cousins
spent hours in this place. We dressed up in the old clothes, rearranged old furniture, and had our own grown up world. We felt isolated from the adults downstairs. It was our world. The absolute best time to be in the attic was when it was a gloomy, rainy day. Because you were right under the roof, it was great to hear the rain hitting the roof, first hand.

If you have never had these experience, I am sorry. It was such a special part of my growing up. I learned a lot about my grandparents, and parents, that I would not have known, because a picture is worth so much more than anything they told me. You never knew what secrets lurked in trunks and boxes, and you never forgot what you experienced in those attics. Today if I had an attic to explore, it would be a flashback to those wonderful days. Then I think about when I first became a believer, and how reading my Bible let me in on the life of my Savior from Genesis to Revelation. Each book was a new discovery into the past.  Just like my attics, I find new things in God's word every time that let's me get to know Him better. Now, if I just had an attic, on a rainy day, to sit and read my Bible!