Stairway to heavenly memories

I have a secret workout weapon and I bet you do too.

Mine allows me to surround myself with cool memories while I work up a great, shaky-muscle kind of sweat. It’s just an old stairwell, but, since we bought the house I grew up in, it’s been mine for nearly 50 years.

At least once a week during this endless pandemic, I have replaced my gym elliptical workout with a session on my basement stairs. That old fashioned stairmaster workout gets my poor heart beating, and not just due to the cardio exercise (though, trust me, it’s a really good, deceptively simple workout).

My path up and down those dusty old stairs takes me past a glorious collection of graffiti I’ve written about before. Starting with my own 16th birthday party, those walls mark occasions and visitors to our house and I have found extra enjoyment these days in reliving sweet memories.

Formal groups of signatures tell the story of gatherings like Prom and Homecoming before which some of my favorite people in the world crammed themselves into that stairway and gifted us all with their autographs. Other scribbles note less lofty but equally precious occasions, like the day the pool opened or the year Heidi Hoffman started middle school.

I spent one whole workout session squinting at the doodle of a magnifying glass every time I passed it, trying to figure out what clever person had imbedded a signature there. Eventually, I figured out that the tiny signature belonged to a tiny friend named Brooke, who signed the wall a decade ago when she was a student at Magellan Middle School.

On another session, I got to traipse through the delightfully fickle love life of a very young, very sweet family friend who hilariously updated her “Sondra loves…” notation four different times. I chuckle every time I pass as I was lucky enough to attend a grown-up Sondra’s gorgeous wedding to the real love of her life, Adam.

Near that, is a more mysterious romantic notation that must not have ended well because someone colored the entire heart in to cover up his or her pledge. I’m curious who wrote and then amended that little piece of the past.

These tiny glimpses into my house’s history keep me both interested and inspired as I stomp up and down those sturdy steps.

I note each time I pass the declaration that Aaron Marterer wants to be a Zoo Keeper and I often wonder what young Aaron actually grew up to be. I know who some of the other signers grew up to be and I’m so thrilled to have known them when they were small children with big dreams that they wrote with gusto all over my basement walls.

The wall writing continues, new names and fresh notations appear, and I love them all.

If you’re looking for a good cardio workout, I recommend checking out your basement stairs, and if you’re looking for a good workout for your heart, I recommend encouraging your house guests and residents to doodle away.

I’ve had some good workouts for my heart on this old staircase…and some good cardio too.
One of the proudest Irishmen I know, John Spalding, left his mark and a shamrock on my basement wall.
Some small person noted with excitement and some inventive spelling that the pool is opening!
Heidi Lynn Hoffman and Katherine started middle school on this date in 2001. (As I recall, Katherine showed up in the exact same outfit as her teacher on that momentous day and came home horrified).
Sondra hearted Torin…no Kong Meng…no Tony…no Mykal all within four months when she was 12-years old. So cute!
Meanwhile, someone else changed his or her mind and hid the evidence.
Someone had big dreams.
We marked some random heights along the way.
Jotted down phone messages.
Offered holiday greetings.
And celebrated birthdays and big games.
Forty years of wall graffiti.
And I’m wondering if Aaron Marterer ever became a zoo keeper.

5 thoughts on “Stairway to heavenly memories

  1. Laura this cracks me up. We had a version of your story in a room at our first house…we called the “ autograph room. When it was remodel time daughter Sara said “these people( her friends) will be famous some day Mom, please don’t cover up their names!
    Aaron Marterer’s mom was a teacher to our children. Great teacher 👍.

    I may have to consider the “stair master” in my house.
    Be well🤗

  2. Laura, we did the same on our stairwell to our basement. I am sure that I subconsciously got the idea from your family. I titled it “Motivational Quotes” to help direct it. It was fun seeing my family and my children’s friends’ effort. Of course, it sunk to the levels of silly statements with inside jokes for their friends only which I am sure I don’t even want to know the hidden meaning. As to your wall, we all know where the “PARTY” quotation came from (Kathy).

    1. Your motivational quotes idea is excellent and you’ll especially love those quotes — even the questionable ones — once those wall signers have grown up. I’m sure the Party Down was Kathy and my money is on her for the edited heart too. 😆

      1. You’re both wrong. The Party Down was Mike – who was ALLOWED to have parties. I only had one party! I’m not sure if I can claim credit for the edited heart, though I wouldn’t be surprised if that was mine.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.