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As someone who has a hard time of letting go of his past, I’ve often associated the word “yesterday” with a feeling of nostalgia. I especially get nostalgic for my childhood, a time when I was closer to my sister and lived in a home where I felt safe and secure. I didn’t come from a perfect family, we definitely had our dysfunctional problems but I won’t go into those problems here. Despite our dysfunctions, I felt cared for and loved by my parents and even when I was younger, I think I knew they were spoiling my brother, sister and me.
I was sick a lot as a child and because of this I missed a lot of school. My bedroom became my refuge and safe haven. I was a shy and inhibited child, afraid of much of the real world and my room, with all of its books and toys, became the only place where I felt safe and secure. I remember thinking that I would be perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life in my room.
For this week’s Illustration Friday challenge, I’ve drawn an affectionate portrait of the way I remember my room. It represents ‘yesterday’ to me because I often feel as if my childhood in that room took place only yesterday. I find it hard to believe that it’s been over 40 years since I could legally be considered a child. It really does seem like yesterday that I was curled up on my childhood bed and reading the Oz and Narnia books.
I’ve tried to include a number of things that were actually in my room at one time or another. I always had a lot of stuffed animals and dolls on my bed, a few of which I’ve shown in the drawing, including a Raggedy Ann doll, a plush green snake, a large dalmatian, several bunny rabbits and a teddy bear. Above the bed, sitting on the headboard is a large papier mache cheetah that I made when I was 11 or 12. On my walls I had thumb-tacked several posters, including a reproduction of a 1920s poster for “The Thief of Bagdad,” starring Douglas Fairbanks (shown on the wall behind the cheetah). I remember I also had a poster showing a ruined castle in Ireland (you can see a portion of it on the right edge of my illustration). The floor was made up of linoleum tiles in various shades of speckled browns and tans. For awhile I had a large, oval braided rug that took up most of the floor space. At the base of my bed I remember having a decorative green cardboard box that had a flowered lid. There were often newspapers stacked on this box because for a while I used to cut out and save the ads for my favorite movies. The curtains on my window were beige and patterned with green, blue and tan representations of colonial shop labels and broadsheets. My room faced our backyard and from my window I could look out on to our backyard with its oval swimming pool and the brown mountain that rose up a block away from our property.
Even after I moved away from home in the late 1970s, my parents continued to live in this house so I often returned for visits. Some time in the mid to late 1980s disaster struck my room in the form of a busted water heater which was in a service porch behind my bed. When the water heater broke, it flooded my bedroom, damaging many of my record albums and anything else I had stored on the floor. The linoleum was also damaged and had to be replaced. After this disaster, many of my things were put in storage and moved to other parts of the house. From that time on, my room never felt the same again. It no longer looked, or felt, like the room I had grown up in.
I created the illustration using Painter 12's "Real" watercolor brushes and a customized "Pen" brush.