Our house in Colorado (where we lived from 1986 until 1992) was a split-level ranch with a living room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and three bedrooms upstairs. Downstairs had a family room with weird grayish wood paneling and BRIGHT-ASS RED carpet, a black and white and red half bath, a laundry room, and a room that, when we moved in, became a playroom.
Ginny and I were spoiled beyond belief and had assloads of toys when we were kids, so it was cool to have a whole room just for playing. One of the coolest things about the playroom was the cave. No one else we knew had a cave in their house.
The cave was sort of a crawl space under the stairs. It’s hard to describe. It was a rectangle-shaped area (under the landing at the front door of the house) with a square entrance where we could both sit when we were little, and a smaller “room” off to the right (under the sloping part of the stairs). Sometime after we moved in, Mom painted the inside of the cave with a blue night sky and yellow and white stars and a moon and our names, and there was a scrap of carpet in there to cover the unfinished concrete floor.
It was a terrible hide-and-seek place because it was the first place anyone would look. A much better hiding place was in the blanket closet under the other flight of stairs, on the upper shelf between the blankets and pillows. Until it was discovered that we hid there, it was the best place of all. Worst hiding place: inside the washing machine, SAMANTHA.
Inside the cave was a good place to take a pillow and a flashlight and read a book. The little room under the stairs on the right was a good place to have a Cabbage Patch Kids nursery. More often than not, though, the cave (with a sheet covering the entrance) was where we threw all our shit when we were forced to clean the playroom. Our millions of toys would sit in a pile in there until we were then forced to clean the cave, which was horrible because there was nowhere else to hide our stuff so what were we supposed to DO?
Once upon a time, we found a frog outside and put it in our aquarium with the fish upstairs to live there. The frog disappeared overnight and we figured the dog or one of the cats had eaten it. A long, long time later, on one of our forced cave-cleaning ordeals, we found a perfectly preserved frog skeleton. Evidently he’d made it to the cave and died in there with our toys.
Shortly before Jamie was born, my parents converted the playroom into a fourth bedroom for me. They took out the blue indoor/outdoor carpeting and the weird wallpaper and replaced it with an explosion of white and lilac so it was pretty much my dream room at that point. Weirdly, I don’t really have any memories of the cave after that. It was still there, and we must have still used it somehow, but I don’t remember anything about it.
A couple of years later, we moved away, and the girl who would get my room was about my age. I wonder if they ever repainted the cave, or if years and years from now someone will see it and wonder who Lorie and Ginny were.