A room from your childhood. Prompt # 62

Sit back, relax. Take a few deep breaths.  Relax into your breathing.

Think about rooms from your childhood. Let your mind wander around various rooms:

Your bedroom

Your parents’ bedroom

Your grandparents’ bedroom

The room where you ate your  meals . . . kitchen or dining room

Your grandparents’ dining room.

Here’s an excerpt from Lynn Henriksen‘s book, Give The Gift of Story, TellTale Souls’ Essential Guide*, page 58, excerpt written by Robin.


Jamie and I would crawl into our cozy little bed between the softest apple-green sheets that matched the apple-green carpet and the apple-green walls. We took turns as to who had to be squished against the wall and who was to be on the outside nearest Grandma.  We always took turns with everything at Grandma’s house, I figure that’s how she kept the peace.

Now, settle into a room from your childhood.  Look around. Really look around.  Start from the doorway and move around the room. . .  write about what you see, what you remember. Include color, smell, texture. What did this room feel like? Who decorated this room?  What influenced the decorator?

Prompt:  Write about a room from your childhood.

* Give The Gift of Story, TellTale Souls’ Essential Guide is now out of print. Lynn’s latest book, the “new and improved model,” as she writes, TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character & Spirit is available at Amazon and Book Passage in Corte Madera, California.

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  1. Lynn L

    Aunt Sophie’s house always scared me a bit. She was a big woman, all soft, jiggly fat and round cheeks that had lost their elastic quality and looked like balls of dough. Maybe that was why she pinched our cheeks so hard; because her own had gone soft. At two years old, I was not polite about my feelings when the big sloppy kiss came, and wiped the saliva from my smarting cheeks with broad gestures, running into the living room just to get some distance. Uncle Aaron was as angular and terse as Aunt Sophie was spherical and boisterous. I could not find a happy medium when we visited them.

    The living room is a vague memory, a sense of color, of muted pinks. Not pastels exactly, but pinks that had grown weary of pinkness and were looking forward to a long retirement as brown. There was a sofa that lacked the straight lines I was used to on our sofa at home, and a big arm chair that I could fairly disappear into, if it wasn’t occupied by a grownup. I liked the chair; I had decided it was safe. But I was terrified of the pillow, a black and white apparition shaped like a telephone handset and as big as my torso. I don’t know why it frightened me, it just oozed a malevolent wrongness that made me keep my distance and shriek if I was made to sit near to it.

    Upstairs, the guest bed was spread with a pink coverlet, a raised pattern of tiny pom-poms decorating it in a tight grid. I did not understand their purpose. The light switch was above my reach, a massive lead rectangle with a pair of heavy porcelain buttons, one black and one white, that made a wall-rattling CLUNK when pressed. The one thing in that house that attracted me was the radiator; a great, mechanical looking beast, covered in layers of glossy, thick paint that chipped easily and satisfyingly, revealing a layer cake of colors as it pulled away. The thing itself looked as mottled as a mangy cat from all the coats of paint that had been applied right over years of older chips, and it hissed all the time. Maybe that was why I liked it.

    On the whole, though, to my two-year-old eyes, barely done imprinting on the world inside my own home, Aunt Sophie’s house was like entering a creepy, otherworldly, fun-house reality. The shapes were not right. The cupboards and dressers were filled with the unknown. Even the potty was strange; cold, and too high. The light was wrong, the colors off, the food unfamiliar, and the rooms filled with strangers. The price of escape was another pinch and slobber, or a frightening sleep in a cold and too-big bed.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Wow! Fabulous writing. I especially love the pom-pom details and how the narrator did not understand their purpose. Lovely writing describing a scene through the eyes of an observant child.

  2. Kathy Myers

    This piece captures the observations of a two year old who are tyrants for conventionality; they want the same book read to them every night, their sandwich cut into equal quarters, and all rooms to look like home. The details are so specific, the impression the narrator has is that Aunt Sophie has created a house of horrors— full of clunks, hisses, and malevolence. This is a well written,very funny piece and a reminder of how the environment, vividly described, can become a character and enrich writing. Love the “Pink retiring to brown” which captures that sad dusty rose color to a T.

  3. Lynn Henriksen

    Lynn, your skillful writing brought me smack dab into the middle of Aunt Sophie’s house, with its dreary, weary pinkness, and her saggy-baggy bigness. I, too, shrank from her slobbery kisses, shied away from that awful pillow’s malevolent wrongness, and was heartened to finally find satisfaction when chipping away big slivers of paint from the radiator beast. Such lovely, lively writing! Thank you…

    I’m always looking for good stories for TellTale Souls’ “volume two” (not sure how long that may take me to get it done), if you’re interested. Also, if you’d like, I’d like to post this story on my blog. My email: lynn(at)

    Keeping Spirits Alive,
    Lynn Henriksen

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