The saga of the bunk bed

Forty years ago in a modest two-story house in Indiana, we switched to bunk beds to give our growing family of five boys room to play and sleep. My handy man used 2″x4” beams and sheets of plywood to build two sets of bunks for the boys. Each set had drawers on the bottom. He stained them dark, slapped on a coat of varnish and screwed in the drawer handles. I found sport themed comforters and declared the project done.

Our five boys slept on those bunks until the last boy left the house more than twenty years ago; by that time we had moved the bed and boys to a ranch house in Arkansas. One bunk left first for parts unknown. The other bunk bed stayed until the last boy went to college and we no longer needed it.

The granddaughters in Indiana need that bed,” we said. Their parents agreed. They were only too happy to accept the bunks if we hauled it from Arkansas up to Indiana.

Let’s get them some pretty matching sheets and pillowcases,” I said before we delivered it. Back home, we began converting the bedroom into a hobby room.

How’s the bed sleeping?” we sometimes asked the folks in Indiana.

Fine, just fine,” the parents of three girls said.

That’s what they said it until they no longer needed bunks. And then they responded, “do you want the bed back?”

My husband definitely did not. He is always the one stuck with packing and unpacking the thing into the van.

It did look rather tired after more than two decades of use. “We could paint it and use it now that we have the other granddaughters visiting so often,” I said studying it.

He groaned, packed it up and hauled that bed back to southern Arkansas.

Paint wood?! No way!” my husband insisted on stain. I chose maroon. It looked like paint to me.

The granddaughters took turns sleeping on the top bunk or the futon. I found some over sized, brightly colored towels to use as spreads. It looked like a girls’ room. My brother visited, slept on the room and laughed as he said, “I turned out the light and there were stars on the ceiling.” I had forgotten the day the girls sat on the top bunk and put fluorescent stickers up there.

About the time the granddaughters moved far away, my daughter’s oldest child and only son, needed a bigger bed. We moved the bed to her house in central Arkansas. She painted it blue and piled on the pillows. He stored clothes and a bushel of Legos in the drawers.

This fall that grandson shot up to eye level with his father and asked. “Do I have to sleep on a bunk bed?”

No, we can use my grandmother’s old sleigh bed. We just need to get a mattress and to cut some slats to hold it,” my daughter said.

He helped his dad cut the slats. She covered it with a gray comforter and asked us, “Do you want the bunk back at your house?” She posted pictures on Facebook of her son’s bedroom, “the bunks are going back to my parents.”

My husband sighed and loaded those bunks into the van.

What are you going to do with the beds?” our Indiana granddaughter texted. She has two very young sons. We took the hint and answered, “Repair some minor damage, haul them back to Indiana, leave them with great-grandsons, and hope we never have to haul them anywhere again.”

About jottingjoan

retired former newspaper writer. Many children and grandchildren. One husband.
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