I had my own room until I was 12. My sisters — one three years younger, the other seven years — shared the room next to me in our stucco-clad Southern California home.
Our rooms didn’t really matter to us, unlike for most kids. We were either at soccer practice, biking, or razor-scootering around on our black asphalt cul-de-sac or watching the Disney Channel in the living room. We didn’t have television in our room or anything all that exciting, really. Our dressers and our beds took up the majority of the space. Maybe there was a Beanie Baby or two, um, hundred.
Upstairs was for sleeping or the very occasional timeout. I recently found journals I kept, reminding me that I sometimes used to “spy’’ on my neighbors. I wanted to be Nancy Drew and frequently found myself making something out of nothing with the hopes that a good, old-fashioned mystery would ensue. It never did.
That’s why, when I was 12 and another sister entered the house, it really didn’t bother me that I wouldn’t have my own room anymore. I even got out of doing a school project requiring me to carry an animatronic baby around for a week. All I had to say was, “I live with one.’’
As we got a little older, and our bedtimes all became very different, my mom thought it was a good idea to put us all in the same room. We would have a desk room (my old one), where we could do our homework, and a sleeping room, where there would be two bunk beds next to each other. Lights could always be off in the sleeping room. The bunks were, and still are for that matter, so close that I could reach out my arms and touch both easily.
Every night was a slumber party. What kid didn’t want that?
I, on the bottom bunk, soon got used to my sister Jamie, a very mobile sleeper, making noise above my head, and Mia, directly across from me, reaching her hand out to say good night. It was the norm for Kelsey, the other top bunker, to talk in her sleep, one time popping her head up to ask my dad, “Who’s your best friend?’’ as he came in to check on us before going to bed.
His response was a laugh and a “go back to sleep.’’
As one can imagine, when it was time for me to head off to Wellesley College, I had no problem sharing a tiny room. I was a pro.
When my junior year came around, I moved into my own dorm room. I hadn’t spent the night alone since I was 12, and even then, my sisters had been right next door.
It wasn’t the greatest room on campus, but I made it my own. I had a wall filled with postcards, pictures of my family from our summer adventures, an American flag, and a few posters all college students have with lofty, inspirational quotes. My window even had one of the best Boston Marathon views on campus. Yeah, the dorm always smelled weird, and there was certainly mold in the bathroom, but it was mine.
But it was quiet, so insanely quiet.
I missed the creaks from our bunk beds and the crickets outside our windows on a warm summer night. I longed for the late-night banter, our matching bedding, and the feeling that your best friends were always just a poke away.
People still think I am crazy when I tell them that I shared a room (and one bathroom) with three sisters. I am 26 years old and still, when I go home to visit for holidays, I love to get into that same bunk bed with that same sandal-print bedding in the room with the same three sisters I know will always be just an “Are you awake?’’ away.
Megan Turchi is a reporter for realestate.boston.com. Send comments to [email protected] and a 550-word essay on your first home to [email protected]. Please note: We do not respond to submissions we won’t pursue.