The room in that huge house in central Maine was hot.
The humidity on that mid-summer day was excessive.
Mamma probably needed the rest more than I.
As I lay on the thin mattress on the cot in what I am now sure was a room other than the one I’d normally use, I suspect it was one chosen because it might be in a cooler part of the 17-room house that had years before been a country inn, and certainly a room not used by our family during the cold winter months.
The cot on which I was supposed to lay was placed directly against the wall of exposed bare wooden laths with crumbling plaster stuck in between. That is, most of the plaster was stuck in between the laths until I, being bored with my status, chose picking plaster over taking a nap. The plaster was so old and dry, it crumbled easily under the pressure of my small fingers. Not only did it crumble, but in so doing, of course it left empty spaces showing signs of my (shall we call it?) labor, plus it made little scritchy-scratchy sounds, rather like that of scurrying mice, as the tiny pieces tumbled and fell at varying intervals down inside and outside the walls.
The strange thing is, following my “nap”, I don’t recall being scolded, or taken to task in any way whatsoever, for doing such a deed – unusual because damaging property was definitely frowned upon in our family - and generally brought about reprisal that I surely would recall. For this reason, I am positive this had to have been one of the extra rooms, likely over the long part of the “L”; therefore, almost never used. Why I’d be trusted there, I fully question. It could have been during one of the infrequent times a “babysitter” was called in when my mother was away. Obviously, I was not a trustworthy child, and only recall being in that room on a couple of occasions.
Even though I was there for a nap, I know all of the above really happened. I am sure I was not dreaming!
© M Sue