So, today in my writing group, I was given a picture prompt. It was a painting called “Kittens in a Cage”, and depicted two or three kittens, one of them in a bird cage. There was also a mama cat, sitting there looking rather annoyed as her babies played in the cage. The cage appeared to be on a table with a red velvet cloth covering it, stuck in the corner of a Victorian home, complete with satin wallpaper.
So I’m looking at this picture, and all that comes to mind is my Grandma’s house, the one she lived in when I was growing up. The house was amazing, and gorgeous. It had a formal parlor with a grand staircase running down one side, along with a beautiful chandelier that hung from a cathedral ceiling. The living room area was quite proper and opened into a majestic dining area, with an even more amazing chandelier to boast. The kitchen was off the formal dining area, and that’s where everyone ate three hundred and sixty days per year. Only certain holidays and special occasions warranted use of the Dining Room. Then, the formal china would be broken out, and the family dressed for dinner.
The basement was equally exciting, and it walked out to a huge back yard, complete with in-ground pool and a playground better than any park could offer, as far as I was concerned. The second floor of the house was full of bedrooms and bathrooms, including a nursery for whichever baby happened to be in the house at the time. If one walked through the nursery, she could find the stairs to the attic. This was no ordinary attic. It was as big as the rest of the house and the ceilings were about ten feet. There was a large bay window on one end, and the floor plan was completely open. They’d decorated it for my aunts, teens back then, so the carpet was blue and green shag and the walls were painted with stars and moons on a deep blue background. The furniture was contemporary for the time, and while the room was so unlike the rest of the house, it seemed to be a perfect topper. It was my very favorite part of the place.
The attic was a special place, to be sure, and receiving an invitation to go up was like Christmas for the little kids. Hanging out with my teenage aunts was a privilege that didn’t come often, but when it did, we thought we were on top of the world! My aunts were so kind to us, and as an adult, I realize how special that really is.
So as I’m writing this, it occurs to me that Grandma’s house might just make a great setting for a good story. Always good to have a setting.