I can remember my Grandmother had a big room at the top of the stairs that was set up for having grandchildren sleep over, sometimes all summer. The room was huge. There was no electricity in the room so you used the hall light outside the door, at the top of the stairs, to find your way if the moon was not shining. In the room she used a little oil lamp that was guarded very closely and we all knew we were not to touch it or even think about moving it.
In the winter the room was very cold! Grandmother used to heat bricks on the little black kitchen range (in the summer kitchen) and wrap them in paper, then towels, and she (or someone) would run up the stairs carrying them to put at the end of the beds to warm the feather beds for us. At the given signal we would all run up, jump into the beds, that would all but swallow us up in the feathers, and very, very carefully reach down with our toes to the hot end of the bed laughing and laughing as we had to pull our feet away from the hot bricks.
Normally we were at Grandmother's house in the summer, but the winters were also great times. I loved it at Christmas. I loved it anytime. You almost always had sorghum molasses at bedtime with fresh bread. Can you imagine that? Sorghum and molasses and fresh bread and warm bricks at the end of your fluffy bed! Imagine that!
Grandmother had a big white iron bed in that big room at the top of the stairs. The biggest bed slept three children or, if Grandmother slept with us, it slept one Grandmother in the middle and one granddaughter on either side. (I remember Grandmother wore a corset - not in bed, of course!) Grandmother had another white iron bed (in that same big room!) that was angled in another corner with the end going slightly toward the end of her big bed, which was also out from the wall. Grandmother never had things against a wall except for chests or library tables. Chairs and sofas and beds always were away from the walls. The second white iron bed slept two. I loved sleeping in it with my Mother! I think that bed was a three-quarter-size bed. Then, do you believe this; she had a third white iron bed that slept two and finally a beautiful baby white iron bed in an alcove. All of these beds were in the same big room. All white. All painted white! Think of all that lead in that room. We could have fit another bed or two because the room was so large.
All 4 beds had huge feather beds, and all had homemade quilts. The sheets were always wonderful smelling because they had been hung outside in the wind to dry. We also had big hooked rugs all over the room. My Grandmother and "her" girls, my Mother and her three sisters had made all of these rugs. Sometimes they would show you material in the rugs that had been from their favorite dresses that had been hooked in the rugs. They would all lean over the rugs and point to their old dresses as we, the grandchildren, all sat on the edge of the beds (while wiggling our feet back and forth) and watched them tell the stories of their old dresses. Some of the dresses had been worn by all four of the girls. Imagine that! I think the room had one big rug and then several smaller ones.
The room had windows on three sides. The lace curtains blew in the breeze when the windows were all open. You could watch the lightning storms and the rain and hear a far off train if you listened closely at night. I loved that room. I can close my eyes and see it now. I can even smell the blossoms from the fruit trees in the back orchard.
You do know the house had a cellar door, don't you? And cherry trees and gooseberries and a mulberry tree and a barn that always had a litter of kittens.
You would have loved that house. It was not a house . . . it was a home.