One of these days, remind me to thank my Aunt for helping to teach me that you have a fundamental right to basic human conveniences.
A swimming pool, air conditioning, bathrooms with showers and plentiful hot water, dishwashers, domesticated animals that didn’t sneak in from the woods & had all their shots; the list went on and on.
While I lived at the bottom of the big hill on Crickettown Road in all my farm girl splendor, she resided at the top of the crest in the mountain on majestic Heights Road.
While we collected kindling, felled trees with a roaring chainsaw and taped plastic to windows to insulate, she had heat.
When the temperature skyrocketed and we ran through a crappy sprinkler and slept without sheets with the windows thrown open she had an olympic sized pool and central air.
It was like fucking Mecca up there.
Anyway, sometime during my childhood she embarked on a master bath and bedroom renovation project that would alter my world and change forever my thoughts on home decor and luxury.
It was true splendor.
You see, she was the first person I’d ever known who’d ever gutted the top half of her beautifully angled cape cod to create a full on suite of pamper.
The bedroom was elongated and revamped, then given a finishing touch with a carved mahogany four-poster bed with a custom canopy and
the bathroom, which now ran the length of the back of the house,was elegant and spacious with a changing area and attached to the one feature that I have never forgotten.
The first time I set foot in that hot baked cedar box with the scalding rocks it seared itself right into my small brain.
It didn’t take long for this special room to acquire a whole new set of uses for bored restless delinquents.
Nevermind that the rocks were so hot that they would turn your tiny hands to flaking ash if you dared touch them or that heat prostration was a very real and looming danger. We would routinely fire it up and jump in fully dressed to see how long we could stand it before bursting out the heavy door gasping for air and just the tiniest bit of life saving humidity.
When I think back now knowing that sauna’s routinely run near 200 degrees I wonder how we remained alive.
In retrospect, it was probably my aunts keen awareness of our raging stupidity that made her inclined to install the door latch on the INSIDE, preventing what I’m sure would have been five tragedies (she has four kids, I was her spare).
To this day I look at my shabby bathrooms and fantasize about the veritable shangri la of warm water, hot air and easy living but remain determined to someday construct a therapeutic hot box of my own.
super awesome sauna picture from here!– http://www.finlandiasauna.com/images/precut1.jpg