The Radio Room
After greeting my grandma, I slip out of the back room where Mom and she are talking and walk to the other end of the house. I pass through the kitchen and living room and step out on the porch; however, I am not coming to visit Pepper, as the little dog is obviously hoping. Instead, I open the door on the left side of the porch and step up into a small room. Closing my eyes and concentrating, I can still smell the combination of oil and Old Spice cologne. This room may look differently than it did a few years ago, but it still holds the essence of the man who once occupied and loved it. Before his death, I spent hours in here with him, playing and talking and listening to him talk. He was my Grandpa Tapp, and I’m standing in his old radio room.
The room is positioned in the center of his domain of the house between his bedroom and his porch, and I would estimate that 75% of his indoor life was spent in these three rooms. As the room is in the back corner of the house, it has two doors connecting it to both his bedroom and porch. The porch stands lower than the rest of the house; therefore, a large step provides access to the radio room. Faux-brick linoleum with its turned-up corners and rolled edges still covers the floor. Although it is now filled with bookshelves and plant stands, two years ago the room was overflowing with metal shelving units. Standing in the doorway between the porch and the old room, I stop to think about how it looked two years ago.
The room is not very large, maybe only 12’x10’, and he had every available inch of it crammed full of radios, batteries, microphones, light bulbs, and whatever else he could find a spot for. His large chair, where he sat to call out on his radio, stood directly in the center of the room with its back to the porch door. The only other seating the room could offer was an old, decrepit thing slumped in front of the window to my right. I say “slumped,” for it was perpetually drowning in an ever-growing collection of papers and abandoned tools. Grandpa’s acquired mass of forgotten items covered the whole floor of the room and most of the walls and shelves. Besides the length of shelves and radio paraphernalia that faced where I am now standing, he also had the corner to my right filled with three metal shelving units, two shoved into the corner and one mounted on the wall directly beside the door. These were overflowing with his collection of National Geographic and Reader’s Digest magazines. From these corner shelves to the radio wall and all around the old chair, the floor was piled high under mountains of papers and tools under which there was always a liberal sprinkling of birdseed from Grandpa’s bringing Amadeus, his pet cockatiel, into the heated room during the winter.
On the wall opposite this hoard of paper, the floor area was relatively clean. Directly beside his radio shelves, in the corner, the trap door to the cellar forced a no-pile zone. On the wall were hung various certificates and photographs he had accumulated down through the years and a medicine cabinet that mostly contained screwdrivers and nuts and bolts. The only interruption in this wall was a doorway in the other corner which stepped down into his bedroom. A lone throw rug covering the worn area in front of this door gave testimony of his love for this disheveled corner of the house.
After his death, Grandma cleared out the room, giving away most of the equipment to her only son. Thus, this room is always closed off now, for no one uses it anymore. In fact, I may be the only person that regularly intrudes upon its calm. I still love to go in and sit on the floor listening to the quiet and remembering the hours I spent in there with Grandpa. His shelves and radios may be all gone now, but even through the books and plant stands Grandma has put in there, the room still seems to be waiting for him.