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Commentary: Bunk Beds for Kids Only

By Christina Abt

Buffalo, NY – The furniture focal point in my childhood bedroom was a solid maple set of bunk beds, complete with a matching four rung ladder. In looking back, my parent's selection of this two-tiered sleeper was rather odd, as neither mom nor dad ever offered the slightest indication that they planned to introduce siblings into my only-child world. Yet for some reason, when I graduated from crib to bed, a double decker was their prefered choice.

Now despite the unusual circumstance of being the sole sleeper in this two-tiered berth, I loved my bunk beds. Not only did they provide me with varied options, they totally served my childhood fantasy world. I would take my satin covered, down quilt and tuck it into the top bunk frame so it would drape over the bottom in tent like fashion. Then I would crawl inside with my favorite carousel horse lamp and spend hours fantasizing about a million and one far away places.

What brings these childhood memories to mind is my re-acquaintance with bunk beds in the form of a set left behind in a vacation home my husband and I recently purchased. While different in wood and tone than my childhood favorites, their standardized upper and lower configuration and sturdily attached ladder immediately filled me with nostalgic longings for the long ago fantasy days of my youth.

That is until at the age of fifty something, I tried to put sheets and blankets on the damn things!

I began with the upper bunk, thinking it would be the easiest. With great anticipation I slid my feet onto the rungs of the ladder and excitedly began my ascent to the bunk summit only to crack my head on the ceiling by the third step.

Undaunted, I hunched my body into a contorted form and crawled onto the upper bunk, where I immediately became the referee for what turned into a wrestling match between the bedding and the mattress. Finally after ten minutes of back breaking, head-whacking agony, I managed to install the sheets and blanket without drawing any sizeable amounts of blood.

Turning my attention to the bottom bunk, I snaked my way back to the ladder to begin my descent. Once again I contorted my body into a pretzel like form. I swung one leg over the ladder and transferred my body weight onto the top rung only to find that I was stuck in a position that would not allow my other leg to follow.

I wiggled, I waggled, I even tried climbing down head first, all to no avail. Obviously, my aged leg just couldn't bend as it had in my youth. Finally in desperation, I wedged my head against the ceiling as a brace to keep my body from falling and then used my hands to lift my leg off the bed and plop it onto the ladder.

As I completed my descent and at last touched the ground, I stood battered, and bruised. Taking a deep breath, I somewhat composed myself and turned my attention to the looming bottom bunk and bedding lying nearby. With a renewed attitude and a mature sense of dignity, I turned around... and beat it out of that bedroom without once looking back, fortified with my newly acquired wisdom that some life experiences are just better left as charming childhood memories.