Lesson One: Part Two - Donna W.

We called it “the little room.”

Originally, it was the living room of the ranch-style house my parents bought at the tail-end of the Philadelphia Main Line, beyond the mansions of Ardmore and Bryn Mawr but still a commutable distance from the city, and a good place, they reasoned, to raise a family.

After they'd built an addition onto the house that included a much larger living room and a basement, the former living room, now “the little room,” became the room where we watched TV. 

When I was about 10, I decided I wanted — needed! — space from my younger sister, with whom I shared a bedroom. After much begging and pleading, I convinced my mom to let me move my twin bed into the little room, along with my most prized possessions, which I carefully arranged in the tiny space. I remember feeling very grown up. I would lay on my bed and read, draw, and color in my coloring books for hours. I felt cocooned, safe and protected.

I’m not sure how long I claimed that little room as my own; it may have been only weeks, or it could have been a year. In one vivd memory I have of being in the room, I’m standing at the window, looking out over our wide front yard, across the street and into our neighbors’  yard. It was Christmas time, and their house was decorated with beautiful blue lights. Even now, when I see blue Christmas lights, I’m transported to the neighborhood where I grew up and the view from my safe haven.

Another vivid memory I have of my time spent in that little room was watching the movie Cinderella on our tiny black-and-white TV — the 1965 version with Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon. Of course I already knew the story, but seeing the beautiful maiden and the handsome prince dancing in their magnificent clothes, pledging their love, being separated and then reunited, played on my imagination and fueled many hours of little-girl daydreams.

It’s funny, but throughout my lifetime I’ve always craved a space of my own. I love my husband dearly, but I want — need! — my own safe haven, a place where I can read, make art, and just dream.