By: Erica Herman
When thinking of my childhood home, most of us remember the dwelling we spent the most time at or made the most memories in. For me, that is the house I lived in while growing up here in Casa Grande during the seventies and eighties. It was the first house that my parents bought and had built at one of the “newest” developments of the time, located in the area of Sunset and Gilbert. The Sunset house taught me many lessons, both good and bad, that ended up shaping my views of home into adulthood.
One of the most important lessons I learned occurred when I was in the first grade and centered on an odd location. The bathroom my brother and I shared when we were young was also known as the “guest” bathroom. It was also one of my mom’s favorite rooms, for she had handpicked everything in it. The tub, toilet, and sink were a shade called “Harvest Gold”, and the white linoleum floor really made them stand out. The faux marble countertop was veined with streaks of gold fleck that glittered in the reflection of the wall-to-wall mirrors, which were great for checking out all angles of a woman’s feathered hairdo. She topped it all off with fluffy throw rugs, toilet seat covers, and towels in bright yellow that matched the shiny vinyl shower curtain.
In this bright bathroom was located a metal medicine cabinet, mounted atop the sink. It had two sliding opaque plastic drawers that hid the contents behind it. These drawers were off limits to my brother and I, and contained items such as various sprays, Band-Aids, Children’s Bayer and most importantly, iodine. As a kid, I was fascinated by iodine. This cure-all came in a small glass vial complete with a plastic stick attached beneath the lid that was used to dip into the red tinted liquid for easier application. I don’t know if it was the ability of this medication to stain your skin for days on end or the fact that I was not allowed to use it that drew me in, but I was obsessed. No matter what my ailment, I was convinced that an application of iodine would cure me.
One afternoon while playing one of my made up games outside on the sidewalk, I fell and scraped my knee. Looking back, I’m sure rinsing it off with the hose outside would have been fine, but I viewed it as an opportunity to get my iodine fix. As I ran inside wailing, my mom took one look at my injury and assured me that I would live. This was not good enough for me. I requested iodine, but she requested I go back outside and play. As I sat on the hot sidewalk, feelings hurt, I made a decision that ended up turning into one of those important lessons I mentioned previously.
After waiting a few minutes so that my mom would forget I had just been in, I re-entered the house, made a beeline for the bathroom and shut the door. That was my first mistake, for I never closed the door when in the bathroom, and by doing so alerted my mom that something fishy was going on. Next, I made mistake number two, which was opening the cabinet that held the iodine and handling it myself. My last and most crucial mistake, was trying to apply the iodine, which I was sure I needed, to my wound all by myself. In what seemed like slow motion, play by play stills, I dropped the bottle and watched the dye bleed into my mom’s prized yellow carpet. Panicked beyond belief, I hastily screwed on the lid, threw it back into its spot, and frantically tried to figure out how I was going to get out of the mess I created. Seeing no other option, I banged my nose on the counter and proceeded to whip up real tears to go along with my bloody nose. I left the bathroom crying and telling my mom that I had gotten blood all over the bathroom carpet. After being settled with an icepack on the couch, I smugly thought about how smart I was for covering up my mistake with a lie and getting a cool injury that all of my friends would ask about. I was out of trouble and free to move on to my next adventure…or so I thought.
Like they say, all good things must come to an end, and my satisfaction about not getting caught abruptly ended the next morning. As I lay in bed and listened to my mom and dad talk while getting ready for the day, I heard my mom recanting the “nosebleed” story and explaining how she knew it was a lie. The iodine set as a huge orange stain after the carpet was washed and dried, giving me away. Horrified, I realized that I was not as smart as I thought I was and dragged myself to their room to confess my sins and take my punishment. Expecting the worst, I was shocked when my mom put her arm around me and simply said, “That is why you shouldn’t lie, you will always get caught and then you get in even more trouble. Just tell the truth and you’ll always be better off.”
Now that I am an adult and a parent myself, I find myself always on the lookout for thick bathroom rugs and constantly reminding my husband and kids not to use the fancy towels hanging in the bathroom that are there not for utility but for looks. Most importantly, I try to talk to my girls about the mistakes they make so that their memories of home will be passed on just like mine were.