My grandparent's houses were always the most fascinating places to visit when I was a kid. We had grandparents in San Francisco and New Jersey, and my brother, cousins and I would explore those houses top to bottom to see what treasures we might find. My Grandpa's study in New Jersey was truly a room of wonder. It was the first room at the beginning of a long hallway which lead to three bedrooms where we'd sleep. His study was filled with everything one would imagine a study should have; leather studded arms chairs, dark wood furniture, floor to ceiling bookcases, framed awards and certificates, golf memorabilia, college football pennants...and a real human skull!
This skull, which I believe he acquired during medical school, kept me from snooping around at night. It was the guard of the hallway, the night's watch. It sat on top of that bookcase staring out the door at any little children who might try to sneak past. If you were brave enough to cross by the study doorway and slide open that rubber accordion door into the living room where the grownups were watching TV, the trip back down the hallway with your back to the skull was just not worth it. You could take the brave approach and slowly walk with your back pressed up against the wall as you'd watch to make sure nothing came out of that room...or you could run as fast as you could down the hallway, your heart pounding through your chest, leaping into bed...that was typically the approach I took.
Twenty-something years later, skulls, which are not so scary anymore, will always remind me of that house, and the thrill of being young and naive. I can't wait for my house to be explored by little ones someday!
What spooked you as a kid that you now find comforting?