Her Own Room

Girl Embroidering 
Georg Friedrich Kersting (c.1814)

The desire for a room of one’s own was not simply a matter of personal privacy.  It demonstrated the growing awareness of individuality–of a growing personal inner life–and the need to express this individuality in physical ways.  Much had changed since the seventeenth century.  […]

We know immediately that the room [in painting] is hers.  Those are her plants on the windowsill; it is her guitar and sheet music on the settee; it is she who has hung the picture of the young man on the wall and draped it with flowers. […]

Fanny Price, the heroine of Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park (written the year before Kersting painted this picture), had a room where she could go “after anything unpleasant below, and find immediate consolation in some pursuit, or some train of thought at hand.  Her plants, her books–of which she had been a collector from the first hour of her commanding a shilling–her writing desk, and her works of charity and ingenuity, were all within her reach; or if indisposed for employment, if nothing but musing would do, she could scarcely see an object in that room which had not an interesting remembrance connected with it.”

~  Witold Rybczynksi in Home, A Short History of an Idea

*     *     *     *    *

Did you have your own room when you were a child? 

I did, but it was a closet.  I loved that little room…most of the time.  Another post, another day.  My husband always shared with his brother, shared with his roommates, shared with his wife.  He’s never had a room of his own.  [moment of respectful silence]   There are worse things to endure!  And that bit about my husband  having to share hasn’t been mentioned in decades.  So don’t think he’s bitter. [wink]

My thoughts are like children bursting out the school door for recess.  Screaming with exhuberance, focused on the far side of the playground, these thoughts will not stand still.  So let them gallop and romp.  There will be time for corralling soon enough. 

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9 thoughts on “Her Own Room

  1. I did have my own room for a very short time when I was about 3 & 4, before my parents divorced.  Then, we lived in an apartment, and I shared a room with my mom, until she remarried and I shared a room with two step-sisters (not a good memory, that).  I did live by myself for several years before marriage, and then I had the whole place to myself (wouldn’t want to go back to that life, either!).
    My husband always shared a room, too, but my boys have always had rooms of their own (until my oldest was in college, that is, but now in grad school he has his own apt.).

  2. My sister and I always shared a room, and there was a LOT of learning done in and through that sharing.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything, even though we fought like cats and dogs for much of it!My daughters (yes, all 4 of them!) shared one room for quite a few years – 2 bunkbeds in a 10 X 14 room.  At one point I remember telling them about the people in the Philippines (I had just heard a missionary talk about it) who tunnel out space underneath houses to sleep in, and how thankful they should be, etc.  They are all still quite close (ages 21-27) today and meet together one night a week (…well, most weeks) for what they call “Girls Night.”  The lessons learned about sharing and kindness to one another are priceless.

  3. Excellent post 🙂
    It’s interesting to consider the development of the idea of *home* and *individual rooms*  I dont think I had ever thought of it, although I remember contemplating Laura’s sleeping situation in The Little House on the Prairie.  I will look forward to next week’s installment of this book.
    But in answer to the question, I feel like I have ALWAYS had to share a room.  First, with three sisters!! Then with one.  Finally, in college I begged for a single for a couple of those years.
    Now I dont mind sharing with the roommate I have 😉

  4. I had my own room growing up, but it always felt lonely.  When I moved out of my mother’s home I had my own room for a bit, but then I switched to the shared bedroom in our roommate-fiilled condo.  Since then, I have always shared.  I like my current roommate the best of all (-:I did create a little office in an under-the-stairs closet when my four oldest were all five and under.  It had a baby gate in front of the door, but I could supervise their play in the living room.  It gave me a place to create without anyone undoing what I had made.  It was a great thing for me in that season.My husband had to share a room with two brothers, but he always found a nook in every home that could be HIS OWN.  He made a spot in a sunroom, and even in the garage in one house.  Now, my oldest son who shares with two brothers has created a study nook in a covered deck space upstairs.   The tradition continues (-: Di

  5. Shared with Elder Sister until our fights drove mom to renovate the attic into 2 bedrooms (I was 15, Sis was 16).  Loved my attic room, it still pops up in dreams, along with treasure of some sort in the dream-storyline.
    Love my British Empire room, too, with or without sharing!

  6. Hey, I  just realized that I’m living alone for the very first time in my life – yes, 51 years!!!  I hated it at first and was always lonely or crying or depressed.  I heard a Christian lady speak, not on living alone, can’t even remember what the topic was, but God worked in my heart through that time.  Now, I love the quiet and the solitude.  Definitely a new time of life! that God is teaching me a lot in (ain’t that a great last sentence for an English major?!) 

  7. i shared with my sister until high school, and always thought it was great–when my brother was old enough to move out i got his room. It was a great old house with cool attic and closet spaces, and his room had its very own big closet room with a window. i loved that room! And my mom was always one to encourage us to decorate our spaces to fit our tastes. That’s something i still love to do.

  8. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments – it’s amazing how those childhood memories come back so clearly with so little bidding.  The last two days I’ve thought of my little closet/bedroom and the cozy nook it was.  Thanks for the comments!

  9. Kim and I shared rooms off an on, depending on where we were living.  Lots of stories funny and pitiful come to mind!  My girls would switch around so one would have their own room while the others shared.  But it was really an exercise in futility because they always ended up in one room anyway!

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