Adventures of An Attic Acrobat

RDP Thursday: BEAM

Photographer Uknown

When I was a kid I was lucky enough to live in an old house with a creepy basement ( unfinished ) and a scary attic ( semi-finished ).

There were two bedrooms upstairs in the finished part of the attic, but to get to them you had to walk through the semi finished attic with the skeletal beams over head  and the exposed floor joists stuffed with insulation stuffed between them.

The bedrooms were bright and sunny and they were painted light green.

My room, I’m glad to say was upstairs in the attic.


My Dad assumed if he told you something what he said would burn into your brain and you would never, ever go against his word, so instead of childproofing the attic or finishing it, he told me not to goof off around the floor joists or I would crash through the ceiling in the dining room and to not do anything stupid like swing from the beams or climb around on them.

So of course I did both- climbing on the beams and swinging from them was a short lived thing because once when I was swinging back and forth on one, my Grandma caught performing my attic acrobatics and  she told me I was going to get myself killed and end up in the cemetery with my baby cousin who had recently died of SIDs.

When she was done telling me kids coffins only came in one color she turned around and left me hanging from the beam with my hands contemplating my mortality.


Another thing I liked to do was crawl along the joists and when I was far enough in, I lay down on my belly and with foot in the air and I would draw dogs and my name and write our address in crayon all over the word work.

I only stopped doing that because I had colored all along the beams and up the unfinished wall and considering I could only work from one joist at a time in the limited space that provided I simply ran out of room.

So imagine my uprise when I was in my room – probably drawing on the walls in my closet I heard my Dad roar my name from the attic.

I remember thinking he had found my drawings and was angry about that, so after he yelled ‘get over here’ for about the millionth time I slunk out of my room to the attic.

Here’s the thing about my parents, they weren’t spankers- they were ‘make you feel like an idiot’ while glaring at you from one eye with their head sort of turned to the side while they gave their scolding. I really hated that.

Anyway, it was never great to go through because in my 7 years of life ( which is how old I was at this time ) their scolding speeches never went off script. I could have scolded myself for them and tossed in the evil eye to boot.

My Dad was looking over to the right where at the floor joists were and he was on fire ” What is this? How many times have I told you to stay off the joists? From here all I remember is- blah blah blah- and then stupid kid. Get over here RIGHT NOW.”

” It’s crayon. ” I said from behind him.

My Dad stopped yelling.

I remember he turned around and he looked at me and instead of the Twitching Eye of Doom looking at me, he looked scared.


There were two spare rooms downstairs and the next day my Dad moved my room from the attic to the guest room. I was a little miffed about that, but relieved. To be honest I wanted to get away from the evidence of my  misbehavior which was scrawled in crayon all over a place I wasn’t supposed to be.

My Grandma was there and she was setting up a new little vanity for me complete with a chair she had reupholstered herself. I had that chair for years, it really was beautiful. Anyway I was preoccupied with my cool new chair and vanity but I heard my Dad say, ” I saw her Mother. She was standing on the beam next to the window.  She was looking out the window and no matter how loud I yelled she wouldn’t turn around and then I heard -” he motioned in my direction.

I think he had a cigarette in his hand.

I looked into the mirror and my Grandmother was shaking her head and my Dad looked at her. ” I know what I saw.”


We moved away from that great house a few months later and I wonder if my drawings are up there hidden under the flooring and if the girl my Dad saw looking out the window is  still there too.


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