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When I was 10 years old, I slept in a fairly large room meant to be two but we moved in before the walling divisions were installed hence, the barracks style bedroom. The room was supposed to be symmetrical sleeping quarters; with a meter of a gap separating the two; one for my parents and another for all four of us kids.

The room was bare except for my parents’ double sized bamboo bed, a Narra dress cabinet, a baby cabinet for our youngest, and several chairs. The times were tough and many people have settled for simple living. It’s the Martial Law years, btw.

One alights a low flight of stair, about four steps from the living room to get there. There stood a pair of free standing panel door jambs as one enters the room, one on either side of the person. Each one is supposed to lead to the individual rooms. But since there were no interior walls installed, the two door jambs stood like two monkey bars; without the bars, that is. But I count my blessings; each had a flush door and from the living room, it looks like the doors actually lead somewhere.

The room, with its wooden jalousie windows was unpainted, but looks very warm and cozy because my mother has many sets of tasteful curtains from our previous home. A modiste herself, she has a fine taste for fabrics and our home curtains were simple and stylish, while the lumber and decorative wood works were handled by my father who at that time had a sash factory.

In spite of a bed, my parents usually slept with us kids. We all sleep on a large buri mattress which resembles a flying carpet for the uninitiated, and covered entirely by one rather large mosquito net. The wooden (tongue and groove) flooring was unpolished but was perfectly and smoothly laid out. We kids would occasionally play, err, pull each other while riding on dried banana leaves to keep the slippery smooth finish of the wooden floor.

There was a switch panel on one corner and a couple of outlets for ironing. I remember  once, my father rushed in the room, his face all flushed in the haste to yank the cord of our smoldering electric iron I forgot to pull off. All the while I was reading in the room, unmindful of the imminent danger four steps away. What was I thinking?

What else? On the rear side of the room was a sliding window that serves as passageway to the “media agua” (lower roof), and eventually to the top roof. The room has much to be desired but we were so happy to have moved in our new house, a cool split-type bungalow in the province.

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