birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


I got my own bedroom when I was 8 years old. I no longer had to share a bedroom with my brother or my grandmother. The catch was I had to move to Mountain Brook to get that bedroom. I could have been moving to the Wonderful World of Disney and I didn’t care. I was leaving my only best friend in the world that lived next door and all my friends at Shades Mountain Elementary. Even though I was somewhat of an introvert and could only silently participate in those friendships that happened around me, I still considered them my friends. Denise whose parents wouldn’t let her take her toys anywhere with her in order to keep them clean- so we destroyed mine. Eddie who walked around barefoot in the dead of winter. And my best friend Barbara who also had a little brother. She loved to tell me stuff to do to my brother – and he always ended up hurt somehow. She was happy so I was happy. 

So I got a new pink bedroom with double closets and a adjoining bathroom which I shared with my brother. His room was smaller and had one closet. My mother seemed to think it would make me happy that he had the smaller room. I don’t remember much satisfaction from that because I was bereft. I was losing my place in a group of people that I am not really sure ever considered me part of the group!

My mother’s taste and the memory of her taste remind me of those decorating magazines with elegant simple spare rooms with tasteful fabrics. I wanted a bedroom the color of the ocean. And if they had had lots of sparkles in the dark ages, I am sure that I would have gone for those along with pictures of mermaids and fish. She would not have that. I had some stately pink and white curtains on the side of my bed with butterflies. Very sedate and lady like. Later as the 60’s progressed, she got me a lime green wicker chair with curly cues that my friends subsequently broke off the chair one by one. It was slow shedding of coolness. She got me a beautiful baby blue corduroy love seat which became the resting place of my giant raggedy Ann doll and everything else that might need putting away. It was a comfort to me to wake in the middle of the night and see RA’s big eyes staring off into space.  

I had a turntable and some speakers as I got older so I could listen to my favorite records- musicals- Camelot, My Fair Lady and South Pacific. I escaped to my room whenever possible. My grandmother spent 6 months out of the year with us and she was blind and a wee bit of a binge drinker. We had a lock on our liquor cabinet but she always managed to sneak in the kitchen for an extra Manhattan while my parents were focused on Chet Huntly and David Brinkley. My brother and I were not allowed to talk during the news but my grandmother would say “what did he say?” or make a comment and no one corrected her. By the end of the evening she was squatting in front of the television to watch with the fraction of one eye that she had left and commenting on every scene. 

My father took up gardening as a hobby and later golf- I am sure to get away from the conversations. 

My mother just got angrier and angrier. It was her mother after all and I guess her duty to react. 

So my room became a very nice place to be. I could imagine that they were all getting along and I could read or listen to music or talk on the phone.

Ice, chard, desk

The Blue Room