Home is where the heart is a cliché of unyielding power as it contains a grain of truth in it. For me home is a place with my own bed a place where I can sleep and dream and be myself. A place where if I choose to leave the sheets on for one more day no one is going to come and literally drag the sheets from off the bed to feed a hungry machine lurking in the corner of the kitchen.
Friends told me that for them Sunday mornings in their homes was a time when you could lie in bed. Not ours. Sunday was the day clothes got washed and moreover, beds were stripped, and you had to relinquish your cozy warm sheets to the drone of the twin tub washing machine that was in the kitchen come bathroom. Weird, but that’s how it was.
Home for me is a place that I like hiding in now that I am older. When I close the door, I can strut around in the eclectic style of mismatched socks, holey cardigans or beloved hoodie and unkempt hair or my birthday suit if the fancy takes me.
Talking of birthday suits, I spent years or at least several months looking for mine. Thinking about it now, my mother was probably tired of my morning whine in the age before school uniforms,
‘Mum what shall I wear?’
My older sister always jumped in before my mother could come up with a suggestion. I knew what Rose Marie would say eyes glinting.
‘Wear your birthday suit.’ She seemed to derive pleasure from my bemused wailing.
‘But I don’t know where my birthday suit is’. I groaned as usual and began my quixotic quest to find the hidden items. It was bad enough trying to work out how people had hung an iron curtain across half the world. I mean did they have something attached the the sky? I was perplexed by these curtains and my missing birthday suit.
I was sure I had been given clothes for my birthday and just couldn’t find them, I looked high and low, but no birthday suit. It didn’t help when my sister sneered
‘You’re wearing it’.
‘Nope I didn’t get these for my birthday.’ Exasperated and tired from my futile searches came my reply, “Mum got these pajamas for me from the John Moore’s Catalogue or these were from Aunt Molly. They weren’t a present’.
Come to think of it, birthday presents were as rare as hens’ teeth in our house, which may have been why I was convinced that on one lucky birthday someone had given me a suit. I did get white ankle socks one year. Those are the only present that I remember getting for my birthday. Usually, people forgot when it was.
I was secretly glad my birthday came at the start of the school year; friends were too busy talking about the school holidays and learning about new teachers to ask the scary question,
‘So, what did you get for your birthday?’
And I could reply with pride
‘I got a suit, a birthday suit’.