My light-blue corner-bedroom was worth the wait. Dad designed and constructed a built-in makeup vanity with shelves on each side.
The best items filling my vanity shelves came from Aunt Annis one Christmas; Avon triple sets of lip stick, coordinating nail polish, and cologne. My favorite shade of lip stick and polish was Warm Toast, and favorite scent was Cotillion, followed closely by To a Wild Rose.
To the right of my vanity, Dad built a romantic window seat with storage underneath. Mom made a blue seat cushion with blue and purple throw-pillows, creating a perfect reading nook. To the right of my window seat, Dad boxed in a dresser and built storage space above. These three areas spanned an entire wall.
My tan carpet had a thread count of 50 and no padding, but who cared? I lived in a dream room. No canning jars, camping gear, or giant spiders.
Mom and Dad should have remembered I was a light sleeper. A scream coming through my open side-window woke me up from a mid-summer night dream.
Background: That spring, Dad bulldozed us a swimming pool. He covered the hole with a black tarp silo liner, anchored around the edges by cement blocks.
Without a filter or pump, the water should have been siphoned out and changed more often than it was. A chicken-wire fence attached to fence posts surrounded our pool. We loved it, and so did the frogs.
The shallow end had no flat area. It sloped steeply down to the deepest part, which barely covered my knees. Too shallow to swim, we pulled ourselves around with our hands touching the bottom and our legs dragging behind.
The night of the scream was exceptionally hot and muggy, with stifling air and no breeze. Mom and Dad decided to do something totally out of character, or so I prefer to think; they went skinny dipping.
The evening dew settled on the tarp, turning it into a slip-and-slide. Mom gingerly stepped on the tarp, planning to dip one foot in the water to check the temperature. She immediately sailed down the slippery slope with one leg in the air, issued the scream that woke me up, and splashed into the water.
“It looked like she was water skiing,” Dad later said, laughing at the picture running through his head.
Dad rushed to make sure she was okay, repeated Mom’s performance, and landed beside her. I reached my window at this point.
“What’s going on?”
“Nothing, go back to sleep,” they yelled in unison.
“Why’d Mom scream?”
“Dad splashed me, now get back in bed.”
I turned my light on, but luckily the beam didn’t reach our pool. “What’re you guys doing?”
I lay in bed wondering how long this bit of monkey business, swimming after hours, had been going on.
Mom and Dad appeared in extraordinarily good moods the following morning, giggling like teenagers. Who knew elderly people in their mid-thirties played games under the midnight moon?
Uncle Mike T. paid close attention when I reported that my parents went swimming at night after I fell asleep.
Lesson learned: Let your children keep their radios on all night to muffle any outside sounds.
Now it’s your turn: Did you ever get a surprising wake up call?
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