A childhood mystery and panicked fright,
The attic, the lower landing cluttered and
Claustrophobic, hanging clothes covering
Faded, torn wallpaper, illuminated by a
Single light adjacent to a plastic-covered
Window, stage set for breath-holding
Exploration or heart-pounding escape.
Year-round musty smells persisted amongst
Dark-turned landings, odors that became
More dank in summer, especially ascending
Towards top steps, passing old calendars,
Religious icons, leading towards two doors,
Separated by a brick chimney, left or right
Passageways to lofty upper rooms.
With self-forced steps upward, a sense of
Bravery earned right to enter this forbidden
Realm, spacious and widow-lighted, rows of
Tempting boxes lined the roof-sloping eaves.
I loved exploring unheated open bedrooms,
Double beds piled high with pillows and
Handmade quilts, to fall blissfully asleep
Listening to roof-drumming Grand Banks rain.
His private domain to escape the madding
Crowds, these were my father’s rooms where
Mom alone was oft invited. Both contained
Antique dresser-drawers filled with magical
Curiosities for any child: old postcards with
Elegant stamps, souvenirs from the Arctic
North, and letters he sent and received during
My parent’s far-flung Newfoundland romance.
Eventually, the old fishing bay family house
Fell into disrepair. Storms alighting on the
Banks shattered attic windows, rain streaked
Down inside walls. Its foundation crumbling
From age, the old house was sold and demol-
Ished, existing now as mist-shrouded memories,
Distant landmark of family history and our
Loving Avalon past.