Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Handprints In The Attic

Yes, there were actual handprints attic.  They were put there to imprint my legacy on the house I grew up calling home.  When I was young, my attic always had an air of mystique.  Often times a strong draft would make the door creek open and shut causing the appearance of it being haunted.  Who am I to say it wasn't haunted?  I only lived there! But the fear I had of the attic when I younger soon dissipated when I discovered its true value.  It was a great place to skip school when I had no other place to go. My friend, Linda and I spent many a day tucked away in the attic discussing boys, very quietly listening to all the best songs on the radio and practicing the latest dance moves.  

The attic had 3 rooms.  One room was sealed off from the rest of the attic.  It was dark and foreboding.  I never explored it nor did I ever shine a flashlight into the window size opening that was on the top of right side of the stairway.  As silly as it sounds, I was always afraid of what I might see.  The other two rooms were on the left side of the stairway.  The room directly at the top of the stairs had exposed rafters, but had finished walls and a wide plank wooden floor.  It had a large closet partitioned along the back wall.  That made a great place to stash pillows and blankets for when it was cold and we used that space as a pseudo bedroom because it was so cozy and secluded from everything else.  The other room had two windows in it that looked out to the street that ran past my house.  That room was completely finished and had a crawlspace the length of the room along the  left side.  Upon exploring it, I found old papers and other things stashed in it, but none of it seemed of any value to me.   

Slowly the attic became transformed into a semi-furnished place to hang out. The transformation began as soon as I started hauling discarded furniture up there.  Soon the attic had 2 old sofas, several chairs, a table, a radio, lamps and other various items I collected and hauled up there.  What I remember most about the attic is its musty smell.  I thought of many ways to eliminate that musty smell and tried things like burning incense and spraying air freshener, but what helped most was when I decide to paint the walls and floors of the 2 useable rooms. 

The transformation hit high gear when I organized  a painting party.  Each person who planned to attend brought whatever remnants of old paint they could find.  My contribution was tangerine colored paint that was used to paint an old sea captain's trunk (I always thought my mother was crazy for painting that trunk any color), lemon colored paint from my bedroom and lavender colored paint from one of the bathrooms.  The wide plank floor was painted in stripes.  Each plank was a different color.  Then the room took on a whole new life of its own when we all used the rest of the paint in a much more creative way.  We put multi-colored handprints all over the walls.  The final result looked like something out of a lunatic's mind or perhaps a scene from a Dr. Seuss poem. 

One hand
Two hands
Red hand
Blue hand
Black hand

Blue hand
Old hand
New hand
Some are red and some are blue.

Some are old and some are new.
Some are sad and some are glad.

And some are very, very bad.
Why are they sad and glad and bad?

I don't know. Go ask your dad.

Some are thin and some are fat.
The fat one has a yellow hat.
From there to here, from here to there,

Funny things everywhere.
Here are some who like to run.

They run for fun in the hot, hot sun
Oh me! Oh my!
Oh me! Oh my!
What a lot of funny things go by.
Some have two hands and some have four.
Some have six hands and some have more.
Where do they come from?
I cant say.
But I bet they have come a long, long way.
We see them come.
We see them go.
Some are fast.
And some are slow.
Some are high.
And some are low
Not one of them is like another.
Don't as us why.
Go ask your mother.

(adapted from "Red Fish Blue Fish" by Dr. Seuss)

Many years later the plot thickened into a sort of silly jiggly jello kind of mess.  My home was sold and converted into 3 apartments.  My cousin, Debbie still lived next door and the new owner asked her if she knew who used to live there.  I think she must have been a little hesitant to commit to answering that question until she was asked if she knew that someone had painted handprints all over the attic.  With that she laughed and nodded her head.  It was that crazy Mary Jane Doe who joyfully left her imprint on that very old, very bold yellow brick house.  


  1. Is the house . . . converted into three apartments . . . still standing.

    Now there would be a fun return visit . . .

    One more question . . . where is the Lynne person . . .

    1. Yes, the house is still standing. I see it every time I go "home" to visit all my friends and family.

      Lynne still lives in Maine and I see her every time I'm home also.

  2. What a great hide away for kids of any age. I wonder if there's room in our attic for me.

  3. What a fun post! Takes me back to when my cousin and I used to hide in our grandmother's attic. Fun times, eh?

    It's nice to meet you. Count me in as your newest groupie.

    1. Thanks for dropping by and it's nice to meet you as well.

  4. This post brings back such wonderful memories. the attic was my safe place. When we were there, it was like we were in a different that was OURS. That attic and YOU hold such a special place in my heart....I can't even begin to describe it. I still have dream about the "other" room.....the unexplored room. In my dreams, we go through that small opening, but all we see is black! Why we dont have a flashlight with us in my dream is a mystery! Maybe it's meant to be just that....a mystery!
    I love you, Mary Jane Doe and I thank you for being such a wonderful part of my like....then and now!