Monday, April 25, 2016

Tender Years: Under the Bed





"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.



Remember how I mentioned in an earlier post, I was afraid at night, in the dark in my bedroom? Mama often told me how hard and long her and Daddy had to fight to get me to sleep in my own bed.  This is when I was five or younger.  We were up in Carthage.  I had good reason to be scared to sleep alone:  under the bed.

I remember lying in the dark room, eyes wide open.  They had to be wide open, so I could see if anything was coming to get me!  Eyes wide open, staring up and out into the room, into the dark.  Watching for movement.  Looking for any difference in shade or shadow.  When I stared long enough, the little bright colored circus animals would start floating down toward the bed.  I'd watch them come down one right after another.  They were bright and cheery, but I knew there was something under the bed that would run them off soon enough!

It was snakes.  There was a huge pile of snakes under my bed!  They only came out at night.  They slithered around and covered the floor of my room.  They wriggled and writhed and hissed.  They couldn't climb up on the bed if I kept my eyes open.  But I was trapped.  Cut off from everyone by these snakes!  Surely Mama didn't know about the snakes!

I'd finally break and call out for Mama and Daddy.  I know they used to love me.  Used to take me to the safety of their bedroom.  But they couldn't see the snakes.  They were too fast!  Disappeared under the bed as soon as they walked in.  In time, they started spanking me and making me stay in my room.

So, I had to learn new methods to cope, to deal with this dilemma.  The bright circus animals whispered to me and told me if I'd just cover all but my eyes and nose with the sheet, that the snakes couldn't get through the sheet.  I worried that if I fell asleep, my arm might dangle off the bed and the snakes could then raise up and strike me or slither up my arm.  Again, the bright animals had the solution:  Cross my arms over my chest and hold an edge of the sheet with each hand.  That'd keep me snug and tight and keep me safe through the night.

Eventually, the animals stopped coming.  I got a room without snakes under the bed.  A lot has changed, but I still always go to sleep with my arms crossed over my chest.

What was bedtime like for you as a small child?  Anything living and hiding under your bed?  Any odd ritual before you can fall asleep?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara

23 comments:

  1. Yikes, what an awful thing. No, I don't recall having issues like that. What finally made them go away?

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    1. I'm not sure. Probably just time getting old enough to understand more.

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  2. I had a tough time sleeping on my own, around the same age you mentioned. Used to run back to my parents room every midnight. It took me some time. :)
    Seena
    #AtoZChallenge - U is for Ultrasound

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    1. I think it's a fairly common thing to go through a time of being afraid to sleep alone in the dark.

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  3. Oh, you poor thing! I'm sorry that you had such a terrifying time and that you got spanked for being scared. :(

    I had spookies in my room, too. Mine were people though (including my little sister!). People would hang on my wall(the Madonna - I had seen the Song of Bernadette) and crouch down between the dresser and the door (a huge football player). One night, a werewolf even bit me on my back. I'm sure that one was my little sister, though Mama said it was a mosquito (mosquitoes love me). I had an awful time getting to sleep like a child, like you did! It was hard before I went to sleep, and even harder after I got to sleep because of the nightmares. Sleep is hard for me even now.

    As far as rituals go...I still sleep with a teddy bear and I am 50 years old. David doesn't mind and it helps me to finally get to sleep. It isn't the teddy that I grew up with, but just as loved. :)

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    1. Here's to whatever lets you sleep! Somehow your spookies are scarier to me then my snakes! LOL Thanks for sharing!

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    2. You're welcome and thanks for not minding my long-winded comments. :)

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  4. I didn't have anything living under my bed, but I had something living in my bed, it was my brother. My brother and I shared a bed for many many years. I can't even recall when we stopped sharing. But closer to 10 or 11. But he was also a bed wetter, so I was double relieved to finally have my own bed.

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    1. I've been drenched by someone a time or two in my life, and it is no fun! I feel for you.

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  5. was scared but not too scared of the dark, but i won't mind those fears if only i could relive it

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    1. Now there's a point I haven't considered! I'd love to see the little circus animals again, but I don't think I ever want to think my room is full of snakes.

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  6. Snuggling in so very little was exposed was a sure way to keep yourself safe.
    Ever see the video for Metallica's Enter Sandman? The boy wakes up to not only snakes on the floor, but all over him in bed. (In an interview with the band, they said the kid loved it.)

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    1. No, thank God, I have not seen it and don't plan to ever see it!

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  7. Good grief! I shared a room with 4 sisters so I never had any troubles going to bed. Your Blogs are always so interesting.
    http://enchantedfantasies.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you, Thea! I suppose all of those sisters would scare off any snakes. ;)

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  8. I understand this very well. Instead of snakes under my bed, I was sure there were mice in the closet and they would run up on my bed once I was asleep. So like you, I had my covers pulled around me for protection... It was awful!

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    1. If we could of got them together, my snakes would of ate your mice...but then how would we have gotten rid of the snakes? Find someone with a room overrun with cats?

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  9. I don't know if the monster was in the closet or under the bed but my parents let me keep a nightlight on for protection and I'm sure to help them get some sleep. We also had a beach house with a tree that was misshapen from all of the constant wind outside my window. Many nights it would scare me but now it's one of the things i miss most about my childhood.

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    1. Isn't that strange? How you can know what something is, yet in the dark it looks like something different?

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  10. One Christmas Eve we had guests that wouldn't leave! I must have been six or seven. I was already in bed, upstairs, listening to them talk and talk and talk in our kitchen downstairs. I was crying, thinking that if they stayed too late, Santa Claus would bypass our house.

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  11. There was a heating unit behind a panel in my closet and I was absolutely certain it would start a fire; that was my "laying in the dark" fear.

    So, the monsters under the bed would have perished, of course...

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    1. Oh, you poor dear! You were a realist I suppose...your fear not about some imaginary maybe but a scenario that could have come to pass.

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So glad you stopped by! Come 'round any time. ~ Barbara

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