This I Believe

Diane - Scranton, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 2, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: legacy, place
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in attics. Up fourteen linoleum covered steps to a world where time seemed to stand still. Attics are places of wonder, remnants of my past, chalk written word-covered walls. My attic had two rooms, one small Kelly green in color with a flowered floor, where most of my sister’s stuff and mine was stored. The other large room with its sliver causing wooden floor was more my parent’s area; however our stuff spilled over quite a bit. On a to do list to clean up, it was always in the top five.

Filled with boxes, dolls and everything you could imagine. Thinking back, I don’t even know how half of the stuff had gotten up there or why it was even there. Still now, I can picture how it looked, how it smelled, how the light disbursed over the boxes. Things that once seemed so large now, in reality, aren’t that large at all. A dresser from my childhood, drawers lined with lime green polka dotted “contact” paper. My mother was so organized, things separated, tagged, each in their own special box.

Large hanging garment bags, with zippers, filled with clothes from a by gone era. A wedding gown, in a cardboard box, preserved with the words “martininzing” on the top. Gifts from a wedding, milk glass menagerie, punch bowls, colored glass. Games missing pieces, dolls painted with polish and hair shorn by dull scissors.

“Make it fast, just pick something already”, I said as my sister rummaged through boxes for something to wear. Tripping over the too long hem of a turquoise green sequined dress I made my way into the small room. Playing house was just one of those things you do growing up. Dusting off a milk glass tea set while my sister covered a small wooden table with a scrap of paisley fabric to use as our tablecloth, we had a tea party. We were not alone, our dolls, posed as children, were there as well.

Funny as it seems to me now, as children we were in such a hurry to grow up. Attics are a place of storage, but they are so much more. A time capsule of our lives. Although the attic is now cleaned out, and the house long been sold, in my minds eye I can still see the way it looked and felt from the top landing of the fourteenth step.

Now in my own house, I don’t see my own attic quite that way. But I do wonder, if my children with their wide-eyed innocence will feel the same way I did as a child when I made that journey to a floor just fourteen steps from “reality.”