The Car Room

Walking across the shag carpet of “The Car Room,” as we called it, was like walking across a floor full of land mines. Getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night I’d try to take as few steps as I could to get to the door. This way I’d be less likely to get a pin stuck in my foot.

You see, my Grandma Mary Jean, whom I’ve written about a few times before loved to sew in the spare bedroom with car wallpaper. She’d oftentimes drop pins and needles in the shag carpet and wouldn’t find them and pick them up. So, on more than one occasion I’d get a pin stuck right in the bottom of my foot, like I was one of those pin cushions that looked like a tomato myself!

“Ouch!”

Grandma would get out the old Mercurochrome and rub it on the spot the pin was pulled out from. This was the antiseptic of choice of the time in the 1980s. It actually has mercury in it, so guess what? It’s not really used anymore. Anyway, it would leave a reddish brown stain on my skin. Looking at the stain on the bottom of my foot was like a reminder that it could happen again at any moment I walked across the floor of The Car Room.

But I still just loved that room.

I can’t remember when my Grandpa and Grandma discovered hardwood floors under the carpet and tore it all out, but that pretty much solved the pin in the foot fears. Here’s a picture of The Car Room when they got ready to move out, not set up at all like it was when I stayed in it, but you can see the wallpaper.

The Car Room without carpet
The Car Room without carpet

Uncle Sam Coin Bank

The item I’m looking at tonight is an Uncle Sam coin bank. It used to sit on top of the dresser in the picture above. The dresser was usually on the other side of the room where the door was. It’s my inspiration for writing about The Car Room tonight.

Uncle Sam coin bank
Uncle Sam coin bank

I always remember this coin bank being in that room, and I used to play with it by trying to put a penny or nickle inside his hand to drop it in his bag. The little black button on the right makes the arm move and the bag open so the coin will drop inside.

Here’s a few close ups:

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I’m not sure when it was made or much about it really. But my grandparents were both people who believed in saving money. They always tried to teach my sisters and I the importance of living within or below our means before I even really understood what that meant. But years later when they were clearing out things, I remembered this bank and asked if I could have it. It reminds me of that value they taught me.

Despite the occasional “war wound” I’d endure with the whole pin in the foot thing, I loved spending so much time in the car room where it always seemed to be as well.

Here’s what the sides look like:

And the bottom: (Made in Hong Kong)

Bottom of Uncle Sam Coin Bank
Bottom of Uncle Sam Coin Bank

How The Car Room was arranged

There were always two twin beds in the car room. Usually my sister Sarah and I shared the room for overnights and holidays. I remember many Christmas Eves going to bed in that room anticipating Santa coming in the morning. Many Easters I’d wake up before light even came through the navy blue curtains to see if Sarah wanted to go downstairs and check our baskets for candy. My older sister Jenny always stayed across the hall, and that’s a whole other post about that room!

My Grandma liked to decorate and redecorate, but I remember there being yellow bedspreads and navy blue bedspreads over the years. I guess that went with the car wallpaper pretty well.

The sewing table was in between the beds and doubled as a night stand.

The wallpaper itself was of old Ford cars. It was fun to look at the cars up close in bed and run my fingers across the four different colors and styles. I loved following the repeating pattern and picking which one was my favorite of the moment.

I usually slept by the window side, which was similar to the set up of my room at home. Grandma’s house was also two stories up. I could stand up in bed and look out into the backyard where there was a huge willow tree. My Grandpa had hung a tire swing from it for us. The long dangling branches hung so low we could touch the leaves when standing under it.

There was also a train track that ran close by behind their house you couldn’t see, but you could hear trains pass by once in a while. My dog Skipper used to howl to trains passing by at home where we had a train track close by too, and at Grandma’s it was no different.

The only other real significant item I remember in The Car Room was a small, wooden, roll top desk. It was usually right across from the door as you’d walk in next to the closet. We used to play shop and school with it. It always seemed to have some extra paper and pencils and pens inside the little drawer. I loved to open and close the rolling cover to it’s front and smell the way the inside of the desk smelled different from the outside air. Sometimes we’d pull it out into the hallway and play beauty shop by the bathroom. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my Grandma cut hair and was a trained beautician. I guess that must have inspired our imaginations and play.

Over the years, I got used to coming up the gold carpeted steps and running down the hallway that led to The Car Room on the right. It felt like a second home. I miss seeing something like a teddy bear with red overalls on the bed waiting for me. Teddy bears were one of my Grandma’s favorite things. There always seemed to be a new one each visit. It was fun to have a nickname for the room that everyone in the family used, and that when we came to Grandma’s I knew The Car Room was ready just for me.

 

Do you have a favorite room memory from when you were a child? I’d love to hear your story. Leave a comment below.

 

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