Saturday, September 24, 2011

Teenage Bedrooms

Mine had green and white shag carpeting and two single beds, canopied, with green and white polka-dotted bedspreads. I hid racy books under the mattress that I found lying in my parents' room or den: copies of Jaws by Peter Benchley, books by Harold Robbins and Looking for Mr. Goodbar. I had a record player/stereo with a smoky plastic cover that sat on a low chest in the bay window (one of the perks of being the oldest of three daughters was getting the room with the bay), and I'd lie on the rug and play music for hours, The Carpenters and John Denver, the Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas -- later the Beatles and Van Morrison and Boston and Fleetwood Mac. I'd lie on my back with those huge squishy black headphones on.

Oh, the seventies.

I was powerfully awkward, a bookworm behind glasses, sweet and smoldering all at once. The photo above is around sixth grade, so I was on the edge of being a teenager, still confident, for the most part.  I think that's a Holly Hobbie necklace, and I must have taken off my aviator framed glasses for the picture and endured the giant blur.

On one wall was a giant cork bulletin board, filled with photos and awards, swimming ribbons and magazine covers from Teen and Seventeen. On the back of my door was a life-size poster of Clark Gable. Weird, right?I think it had something to do with living in Atlanta and being enamored of Gone with the Wind for a time. I had my own bathroom then which was also carpeted in shag. I had a bookshelf in the bathroom, and on top of that resided my owl collection. Over the bookshelf and all those owls, I hung a circular hook rug that I'd hooked myself -- a large owl. It was green and orange and spectacularly ugly. I wish I still had it -- I could probably find something similar, though, in Anthropology. On the bathroom sink lay an array of big, fat Bonne Bell Lipsmackers, a Clairol hot roller set, my rouge (that's what we called it, then) and mascara, Love's Baby Soft and Jean Nate.

I was reminded of all of this when I stumbled upon this website:

What did your teenage bedroom look like?


  1. Cork board wall, huge pendant white glass globe ceiling light, merimekko quilt, 1930's movie star poster, fm radio, picture window looking out into a giant maple tree, smaller window opening out onto porch roof - where my friends and I sat to smoke and listen to Jackson Browne.

    How nice it was to have my own room :)

  2. It looked a lot like yours. With a twisty panasonic radio before I got the stereo with the smoky plastic top.

    But my own bathroom? Nope. I'm the eldest of six kids... what a luxury for you. We fought about who got the first shower.



  3. So sorry, I can't think or remember back that olde

  4. I had a pink room. I did not like having a pink room. I wanted a yellow room but it didn't really matter what I wanted. I wasn't allowed to put anything up on the walls either. My father was all about control.

    I do remember having plants though on top of my chest of drawers.

    Shitty childhood.

  5. Yellow room. Paint was yellow on 3 walls. One wall had wallpaper in a plaid pattern, yellow and a bunch of other colors I can't remember. A yellow wicker ceiling light. Yellow carpeting. You get the idea.

    I really was not a fan of yellow. Didn't suit my tomboy ways. Not my choosing.I did have a turntable though that I blasted my music, especially AC/DC, Scorpions and Pat Benatar, at insane decibels, just to drive my mother insane.Payback for the yellow I suppose.

    I had a desk and a bookcase but anything on the walls was my parents choosing as well.

    Seems I had both a mother and a father who were both control freaks.

    Somethings never change.

  6. Mine was messy. Very, very messy. With Van Halen posters. And messy.

  7. Green and yellow plaid wallpaper!

  8. Bright green and orange flowered furniture with a hanging lamp covered in orange beads. Tre' cool.

  9. Red shag, white French provincial furniture with a four poster bed and a bookcase my dad made for me. I still have the furniture, minus the bed and use it. It has been painted and the hardware changed.

    I had a record player that was like a suitcase, light blue and cream vinyl. It had the round plastic insert for playing 45's.

    I can't remember what was on the walls, it was a long time ago!

  10. a poster of Springsteen!

  11. Mine was hot pink and green with green shag carpet. I had huge black and white posters on the wall. The only one I remember was this one of Allen Ginsberg I had eyeballs everywhere that i got at head shop in Atlanta. The Artist still has my paper weight eyeball 40 plus years later.

    Allen was correct.

  12. i must have come here three times, leaving without a word...hesitating on this looking back. opening this door is a floodgate of emotion.
    i will say there were books, stacks of old books, and time spent writing. there was quiet and creating...and the company of a favorite black cat.

  13. I so loved huge those squishy black headphones. They were on my head as often as I could get away with, which wasn't very often. The rest of the time I was usually writing or reading. My room was Pepto pink with black accents. I had mirrored closet doors and shadow-danced in front of them. Ahh...thanks for the fun trip down memory lane!

  14. White walls covered in posters of REM, Talking Heads, The Cure, etc. Orange shag carpet, but little exposed due to the fact that my double waterbed with padded side rails took up most of the room. There was a built-in bookshelf on the headboard and I had added two cardboard "doors" to an old stereo cabinet (covered the cardboard in blue velvet which I stuffed with quilting stuffing to make it poofy) where I stored my tapes and other books. Faux wood, hollow sliding closet doors hid most of the mess of clothing.

  15. i want to tell you about my bedroom, but more than that i want to tell you how captivated i am by your teenage face. you really haven't changed much at all.

    my bedroom was shell pink, my mother loved pink, with white wood furniture, my mother loved that too. the part i loved were the posters on the wall, cutouts from 16 magazine, and the yellow shag carpet that was so soft under my bare feet. and i had a little porch right next to my bed, and fresh breezes came through the door at all hours, and would lie on my bed and read and my dog would lie on the miniature verandah and listen to the mango trees in the breeze. large windows that looked onto a green field. a walk n closet that felt like a tree house. looking back, i realize i was a privileged child. i wish i could offer my own children that privilege. reminds me of the title of an anne tyler book, a slipping down life. okay, enough. sorry for the stream of consciousness!

  16. mine was all different shades of yellow (the result of buying the wrong shade and my artist mom adding white to it with every wall we painted.) and twin beds that were like couches with a corner table between (also yellow) and some kind of bold yellow and apple-green flower print on the bedspreads. and terrazzo floors and white do-it-yourself bookshelves with everything in the world, probably, collected on them - books, stuffed animals, seventeen magazine, dried flowers, cat stevens album (tea for the tillerman.)

    you have a wonderful talent for description. i can visualize your room perfectly. and how well i remember bonnie bell lipgloss and love's baby soft! i think i liked love's fresh lemon, too...



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