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Old 08-30-2013, 01:30 AM
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Default The Forgotten Magic Of Attics

Children born after the 50s have missed out on one of the most splendid pleasures in life, exploring an attic. Homes built in the past forty-five years often will only have a crawl space for storage, in place of a glorious full size attic. Even sadder are homes that also lack basements, or cellars, as they were usually called. But while basements served a real purpose, attics simply held family treasures and memories.

The attic in our weather-beaten house in the Fairmount neighbor- hood of Cincinnati held an almost magnet-like attraction for me as I was growing up. From the signed photo of Deborah Kerr that transfixed me, to the front window that afforded me a panoramic view of our neighborhood, the attic was a special place for me. When I was there, my childhood worries were left behind.

I was forever drawn to a pair of old trunks in the rear corner, and I’d spend hours exploring their contents; old-fashioned and musty clothing, forty year old magazines with titles that even sounded ancient, and assorted playbills and such. I recall ask- ing my parents about the trunks, but all I was told was that they had belonged to my great grandparents. I guess they were too busy to give me a family history lesson, and in time I no longer was interested enough to keep asking.

Unlike our cellar and its changing contents, I don’t recall any items ever being removed from our attic, only added, until we moved during the summer of 1959. We were moving to a brand new home in suburbia, in the township of Delhi Hills, and since it was a much smaller place, most of what had been in the attic did not make it to the new house. In later years I wondered why that publicity photo of Deborah Kerr was left behind, since to this day I still have a warm spot for her.

One casualty of our moving was my older brother’s train layout, made with chicken wire and papier-mâché, which was simply torn strips of newspaper soaked in a paste of flour and water. With mountains, valleys, and several tunnels, I had hoped to finally get possession of it, since Carl had outgrown it.

But Carl’s work of art was too fragile to survive the ten mile trip, and the Lionel train set was packed away and forgotten. I eventually found them many years later, and while they evoked a lot of memories, I never even tested them to see it they would still run. Somehow, the magic simply was no longer there.

But probably what I missed the most about our old attic was the solitude that it offered me. Always a dreamer and a writer, it afforded me a place to be alone with my thoughts. I would while away afternoons by the front window, high above the passing din, imagining what might be. Observing the passing parade of life, I now look back over the decades, and share my memories with the world. Sometimes I wonder if I wasn’t born nostalgic, since I’ve always savored possibilities more than involvement.

So although it’s been over forty-five years, even today I can recall the awe of looking out that window, of spying on the world just outside. And while I can never go back to those earlier times, I often revisit my Good Old Days. And I don’t even need the skeleton key I still have from that grand old house to unlock my memories.

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Old 08-30-2013, 02:51 AM
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Oh man, this brings back memories.

My grandparents house had a great attic. It was my grandfather's darkroom, then it was where my uncles played when they were little, then I got to explore all the stuff they left behind when I was little.

That was a great house, I still miss it a lot.
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