My grandfather was a good man and all his grandchildren called him, “Pop.” My brothers and I lived with Nana and Pop when we were young and I have some marvelous memories of all my cousins celebrating Christmas morning together, playing Hide and Seek and most vividly, I remember playing school for hours on end with my cousin, Mary. You could tell that I was the teacher because I was the one who confidently wore a towel around my head, feigning long hair. (Sometime during my early childhood, I decided that all good teachers have long hair)
Pop’s office was also in the basement but it was clearly “out of bounds” for us kids. However, the more that Nana reminded us of this rule, the more we all wanted to explore this “forbidden fruit” cavern of mystery.
One evening, when all the grown-ups were upstairs doing whatever grown-ups do, my cousin, Mary and I raced downstairs to the bathroom to grab a towel so we could prepare for a long bout of make believe school. I was superfast so most of the time, I got there first and therefore, became the teacher. Once our roles were firmly established, we headed into the furnace room, which was our makeshift classroom. I was busy teaching math on the chalkboard when my bored cousin decided to throw a ball down the hall. I immediately called, “Recess” and intended to discipline Mary for interrupting the class but the temptation got the best of me and before I knew it, I morphed into my tomboyish ways and galloped down the hall to retrieve the ball. We looked everywhere. Could it be that the ball had opened the office door and made a sharp 90° turn into that secret room?( and then closed the door after itself?)
Mary and I gave each other a quick glance of affirmation and without saying a word, decided that it was time to deal with our insatiable curiosity. We were about ten years old at the time and honestly, I can’t remember why it took us so long to face our fear and enter the forbidden room. But that’s the way it was back then. I’m not sure why we chose to get on our knees and quietly crawl towards the office door – it just seemed to be the appropriate detective position for such a moment as this.
I reached up to the doorknob, turning around for one last time to reassure my trembling cousin, twisted the doorknob and cautiously pushed the door open. It felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest and I held my breath.
We looked inside – what a wonder to behold!
Stay tuned to tomorrow’s post to catch the ending of this adventure – there IS a purpose to this story!