When I was 5 years old my parents built a new house. And I got to pick out the colours and furniture for my new bedroom. So what does a 5 year old girl in 1975 choose? White high-low shag carpet (the whole house had shag carpet, it was the ‘70s) mauve walls and a princess canopy bed.
By the time I was 14 the sight of my room was enough to make me puke. I tried to cover all the walls with posters from Teen Beat, but it didn’t change the fact that I was still sleeping on a princess canopy bed. My parents, who are not only decorating-challenged, live by the creed of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Thus they still live in the same house, with same shag carpet and the same ‘70s Golden Rod coloured appliances. So when I asked to redecorate my room and get new furniture, they looked at me like I had 3 heads. We lived in a 4 bedroom house and I was an only child, so we had 2 spare rooms. One was a ghastly bright yellow with orange shag carpet and the other was dark green. So I started to concoct a plan. I was already working at 14, so I had lots of spending money. I decided that I would buy a water bed (hey, it was the ‘80s by then, water beds were cool) and move to the green bedroom. Since the princess bed had matching furniture you couldn’t just replace the bed according to my parents! So my plan worked. I was the proud owner of a water bed, complete with satin sheets.
4 years later when I moved out of my parent’s home I started a very nomadic time in my life. Over the next 4 years I lived in 15 different places. From flopping with friends, to renting a room, to living with a girlfriend, to spending time at a convent or having my own apartment. When you move that often, you really pare down on the number of things you take with you from place to place. If it didn’t fit inside my 2 door Volkswagen rabbit, it got left behind. So that meant I didn’t have my own bed at all during that time.
Then I met Hilary and moved in with her. She had a bachelor apartment and neither of us had much money. She did however have a futon mattress. In an effort to maximize space we decided to “build” a platform for the bed so that we could store things under it. And how do 2 20-something year olds, close to destitution, living in an apartment in down town Toronto build something? With milk crates of course!
MPM: An appreciation
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