When I was 16 I decided I wanted to go from living with my father and stepmother to living with my Mother who at that time lived in Johnstown, Pa.  It was a big decision and move for me, one that I had been planning for 3 years, plans to escape my step mother and her mental abuse.

I knew what I was giving up, living in a nice house in a neat little town for an apartment at the top of a long flight of stairs, in the very center of the fairly good sized town, nicknamed ‘steeltown’ for the many steel mills located there.
To reach the apartment you entered a doorway off a little green square with a few trees. As you entered, to the right and down a few steps was a very noisy bar, but up the steps you go, then a right turn, halfway up  an office door and finally all the way to the top reaching the third floor, enter the apartment.
The door opened directly into the kitchen, most notable of all accessories was the roller washing machine tucked behind the fridge.  On laundry day, which was always, Mon, Mother’s day off, the fridge was moved, the washer lugged out and attached to the sink.  Thus began a long laborious project ending with the hanging of the clothes which was done either by stretching a rope down the long hallway or if it was warm enough, lug the clothes out through the bathroom to the rooftop, sheltered by a billboard, with ropes already strung for laundry.  
Down the hallway, two more rooms, a bedroom and a living room with windows looking out to the street scene below.  Many hours I spent looking out those windows, making up lives for all the people I saw below.

The big thing about the apartment for me was the stairs, the long, lonely and unknown stairs a prominent, fearsome feature in many a nightmare in all the years since.  At the time I was terribly afraid to be alone and most of all to be alone in an apartment at the top of those stairs, with that bar downstairs and all the unknowable, unknowns.  Those stairs colored my memories of the time in a very negative way.

Today I was thinking of that apartment and how I felt about it and then I was immediately taken to all the wondrous moments of living there in that perch, right in the heart of the city, with lot of delicious viewing time, gazing down on the busy street below.  
Into my mind flew the memories of Christmases there, with all the beautifully decorated stores just out my window and how upon descending the stairs I could step out into a beautiful winter wonder land scene, filled with bustling people, everywhere I turned.  I could stroll down the street to the Sear’s store to visit with my mother who worked there and stop on the way home to pick up a delicious, just baked and still warm tea cake for desert.  
The falling flakes of snow, the drifts to the sides, the lights everywhere, all around me the smell and sights of Christmas.  Just beautiful.
Thinking of this today, in this way I see I have come to the place where I can remember and appreciate the beauty of a place where I saw none before, I realized that I had covered up that beauty with pain and could not see it for the darkness.   Then and there I cast it away, beauty won and I have redrawn that time period of my life.
So tell me folks, have you ever upon review, recast the drama of your life in a different light in your mind.  Tell us, do!

(Crossposted at Village Blue! Come and Visit!)

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