Bunk Beds

By Mike Johnson

I was about 10 when I got my own room. Until then, I shared a room with my two younger brothers.

I donít remember asking for this so donít understand what got into mom and dad. They sanded and refinished the floor. Wallpapered the room. Bought me a dresser, desk and bunk beds.

Being the oldest, I was the recipient of their labors. That beautifully rehabbed bedroom just might have been the very best gift of my childhood.

I immediately took the bottom bunk. Pushed into the southeast corner, two walls and the overhead bunk made it feel like sleeping in a cave.

Perhaps I needed it, perhaps I deserved it, but my predominant feeling from childhood was fear. My parents fought often. My father had temper and drinking issues. My mom was often sick.

That bedroom and that lower bunk was my safe zone. When that door shut at night, I knew I wouldnít encounter random trouble for at least 8 hours.

A year later, I got the morning paper route and gained the freedom of leaving the house alone at 4am. Dad left for work at 6am so I made sure I returned home after that. Now I was clear until 5:30 pm.

This sounds sad and I suppose it was. But with school, paper routes, friends and after-school sports, I carved out a large chunk of safety, happiness and self-esteem. Trouble and fear forced me to create my own better self and better world away from home.

I used those skills to blaze my own trail the rest of my life. I believe we choose specific types of adversity before our arrival to push us into the growth we most need.

Mom died when I was 14. Jobs kept me away from home much of those remaining 4 years. Dad remarried, overcame his demons and lived a second half life worth emulating.

Today I see the parents were a gift. The adversity was a gift. The bunk beds were a gift.

When we bought and rehabbed the hobby farm 10 years ago, I spontaneously bought these pictured bunk beds at an auction. Of course I set them up in a corner. I slept in that bottom bunk often. It felt just as safe and comforting as I remembered.

We left the bunk beds for the family that bought the farm.

I hope their kids don't need them for the reasons I did.

But I hope they love them just as much.

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More:

What If We Know Before We Arrive?

The Study Carrel

The Day We Bought the Farm

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