Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Still of Some Use – John Updike



John Updike - March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009

Another story by Updike. I was really looking forward to reading it because of my new fondness for his writing. I can’t wait to read more. I’ll say it again – or something along the lines of what I said before – I can’t believe that it has taken so ling for me to read him. What a true master.

Attics are wonderful places. The apartment M and I live in now, does not have an attic – so we are forced to use our closets and my mother’s attic for overflow storage.

My mother’s attic. I lived in that attic from about age 13 through 18 – and it is where I slept when I came home to visit during college breaks.

Through some of the most developmental years of my life, I lived in that attic, and the fact that I did, enhanced those years. I was free from the prying eyes of my mother – my sister and all those that I felt were snooping on me (at that age, someone is always snooping).

I decorated the walls with street signs, posters of bikini models (Cindy Crawford was a favorite) and was able to position my stereo perfectly to allow the outside world to hear the “music” I loved.

I burned incense – which stirred suspicions in my mother that I had turned the attic into some sort of opium den. It may have looked that like one but the strongest thing ingested up there was Pepsi.

I secreted away copies of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues and even a couple – um- other titles that featured ladies in –um- not a lot of clothes.

It was like a tree house, a guy’s hideaway and I loved it.

A great room to grow up in.

Living in the attic with me was plenty of our family’s past. Old books from my parent’s college days, outdated encyclopedias, a loom, WWII Nazi trophies of war, old clothes, toys, old furniture and countless boxes of “junk”. On boring weekends, I’d venture to that side of the attic and sift through the boxes in an attempt to discover a bit more about my family. At times, I’d come across a nice piece of the puzzle...but mostly, there was plenty of junk.

Today, I venture up to the attic about once a month – usually looking for an old book. I stored most of my bachelor possessions up in the attic back in ’98 before I left for Romania, and about 80% of what I left there remains today. The boxes are filled with books and papers from college. Stuff I’m sure most guys like me have stashed away. There is even a suitcase filled with the remnants of my 2 years in Negresti - letters from home and of course – papers.

Attics are wonderful time capsules of our lives that should be explored from time to time.

One day, I’m sure I’ll find the time to unseal those boxes and open that suitcase and rediscover parts of my life.

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