This year we have four extended family members graduating various high schools throughout the country, vacating their rooms, and heading off in many different directions to attend college. One of them, my granddaughter Ashley, is leaving New Hampshire after her graduation, and heading off to an exotic location – our Guest Room.
It hasn’t always been a guest room, of course. When we got married, my wife had three children and I had two – ages 17, 13, 11, 9 & 7. They were all at the wedding and stood with us as we exchanged vows – one of which was to practice extremely safe sex—then we headed home to our two-bedroom, two-bath condo.
My wife and I moved into that room which then was known as The Middle Bedroom. The Master Bedroom became a Dorm Room and the garage which has never actually held a car in the twenty-odd years we have lived here, was converted into The South Wing of the estate.
Somehow it all worked and for the next few years we marveled as each child grew into his or her own personality, consuming approximately the same amount of food that is produced by a small country; completing hundreds of final projects (by midnight the day before they were due of course) that involved a ton of art boards, gallons of glue, and enough poster paint to redecorate Poland; creating so much laundry that Sears automatically delivered a new washer and dryer every six months; and requiring copious amounts of bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, surfboards, snowboards, gameboys, ataris, boomboxes, cassette players and some 1400 batteries.
We moved into the next phase when I needed an office for my new freelance business, so the Middle Bedroom became the New Dorm Room and my wife and I moved into The Master Bedroom, turning half of it into an office which I like to refer to as Ernie’s World Phase I.
For a few years, a calm settled over the estate, however it was short lived, as the oldest child vacated The South Wing/Garage and another took his place. Then, we split our 20-foot by 8-foot atrium in half and created a new single room, which became known as The Third Bedroom. Correspondingly, The New Dorm Room/Middle Bedroom became known simply as The Boy’s Room.
Unfortunately, one of the occupants of the Boy’s Room/New Dorm Room/Middle Bedroom was neat and the other… not so neat… which caused the occasional riffle. So when the South Wing/Garage came open again, the not-so-neat one moved out of the Boy’s Room/New Dorm Room/Middle Bedroom and it became known simply as The Neat Room.
A new calm settled over the estate however it too was short lived as the next eldest went away to college, opening up The Third Bedroom to the highest bidder. And we entered a new phase whereas The South Wing/Garage reverted back to its original purpose – the storage of stuff not people – and we began referring to it in hushed whispers, simply, as The Garage.
The next transition happened when The Neat One went of to college. By now my wife was sick of having an office in her, er our bedroom, so Ernie’s World Phase II moved rather quickly, I thought, into the former Neat Bedroom/Boy’s Room/New Dorm Room/ Middle Bedroom.
Before you knew it, word got out to the relatives that the herd was thinning, so we added a futon and the room became known as Ernie’s World Phase II/Guest Room.
Finally, the last child went on to college, Ernie’s World Phase II moved into The Third Bedroom and the former Ernie’s Word/Guest Room/Ernie’s World Phase II/ Neat Bedroom/Boy’s Room/New Dorm Room/Middle Bedroom became know simply as The Guest Room.
A couple of years ago, my wife retired and needed a home office of her own, so we added a desk and computer to The Guest Room and until today it had briefly been referred to as The Guest Room/Pat’s Office.
Now we have purchased a new desk and placed it in The Master Bedroom, which we are already referring to as The Master Bedroom/Pat’s Office.
And what of the former Guest Room/Pat’s Office/ Ernie’s Office/Guest Room/Ernie’s World Phase II/ Neat Bedroom/Boy’s Room/New Dorm Room/Middle Bedroom? Well starting in a few weeks it will simply be known as -- Ashley’s Room.
At least temporarily.