I dream I’m in the little bungalow I grew up in on 7th Avenue. I’m downstairs in, what we called the rumpus room, but in my dream I refer to it as the rec room. It hasn’t been used for a while and I’m tidying up because I’m hosting a gathering (which, if you know me, is the first thing that confirms it’s a dream).
The room is much the same as I remember it, only bigger. The steel-backed Willis piano is still there, as are two comfy overstuffed sofas. My little pink toy stove is gone, as are dolls with eyes that close and wooden blocks. I’m rearranging seating and testing out lighting when I discover many lightbulbs are burnt our and I go upstairs in search of more.
Mom’s in the kitchen making supper and I open the door to the pantry looking for bulbs.
“Isn’t this where we keep them,” I ask. She says no, and directs me to the top of the cupboard in the hall.
Theres no way I’ll be able to reach the top cupboard but I head there anyway and, surprise of surprises, I have no problem reaching to open the wooden doors and rummage around looking in vain for new lightbulbs.
The only other place I can imagine finding them is the garage, so I head down four steps to the landing and out the side door. Dad is out there, just locking the garage door and I ask him about the bulbs. He hands me the keys so I can have a good look.
Meanwhile, my guests are arriving and I am transported back to the rec room with lightbulbs in hand. There’s an motley assortment of people there, co-workers from just before I retired and other people I don’t recognize but seemed to know in the dream.
The gathering is scheduled to start at 6:30 but Mom told me earlier that we’d be having dinner at 6:30. I excuse myself from the company of my friends and hurry upstairs to join Mom and Dad at the table and wolf down fried chicken and mashed potatoes.
Back downstairs afterward, I’m still tidying and rearranging even while my guests mingle. Someone plucks out a tune on the piano, others form a circle with chairs and are waiting. I do some slip-shod dusting and tidying and find a tiny toy rabbit that a little Dutch girl gave Dad when he was overseas during the war.
When the time comes for our gathering to end, I ask everyone to gather together so I can take a photo to commemorate the occasion. Most people are dressed in red and white and I capture festive Christmas-like images. As I shoot one photo after another, the group move their arms and becomes a singing Christmas tree. It’s quite magical.
In the liminality of starting to surface, I take one more walk through the house and join Mom and Dad in the kitchen before wakefulness overshadows dreamlikeness. Then I linger, between flannel sheets and under a down duvet, basking in the feeling of home.