Letter From Home “Evie’s Step” 1/16/20


Several years ago a four-old girl was at our home as her mom and younger brother were driven to the emergency room by James.  The boy had scalded his mouth on a hot tea and so while the little guy was being taken care of by a doctor I came up with a way to keep a child content.

By making cookies!

As I was getting mixing bowls and ingredients assembled on the kitchen table the little girl runs into the room and asked me if I had a ladder.

Sure I do, but then with a pause asked her why she needed a ladder.

With seemingly perfect comic timing she said: “Without a ladder, I can not get up on your bed to jump around”.

She clearly had everything thought out.  While the bed is king-size, and surely must have looked like a perfect playground to her mind, I found it just as easy to track her attention to the baking that we were about to undertake.

I thought of that memory this week as I came home from out-patient surgery.  The bed was made by Robert, James’ dad, back when he and his twin sister needed a new place to sleep.  That was also the Christmas where Santa bought the carpenter a router.  With two drawers on each side along with bookshelves, and then a large headboard for more books and space for a radio, it is truly a grand piece of furniture.  There is no doubt as to why a small girl thought jumping upon it would be a great experience.

Several years ago Robert crafted the two beds together as one in Maine.  We had it shipped to Madison.  When moving it into our home, one thing was for certain.  It is so heavy that should the wind-of-the-century blow I plan to rope myself to it with the assurance of not being carried off.  It took a number of local beefed-up college guys from the neighborhood to help carry it in.

But the bed is also higher than most and when one sits upon it there is no way to have your feet touch the floor.   I have joked often that a running start is the best to land in bed.  Before my surgery, I had wondered how to achieve that without pulling on my two incisions.

That is when I thought of Aunt Evie.

To assist with getting in and out of her vehicle, where she was always a passenger, her husband had made a wooden step.  I knew it would be just the right height needed for a few days at our home—and after checking out on-line items knew it would be far more economical, too.  Evie passed away last spring, and so I asked if I could use it.

James thought it needed to be stained a dark color to match the rest of the bedroom and this week it has been used—with much appreciation each time.  Though I have no pain whatsoever from the operation, the ouch factor of soreness is pronounced.  Without the step, I am not sure how I would get up and down from the bed.

But here is the best part of the story.  I very much enjoy having items of memory and nostalgia around me from family.  James has the same type of feelings for such things. Most of the items falling into that category are things to look at and talk about when others are here.  Or just sit back and reflect upon when alone.

But Evie’s step is a utilitarian object which has really made a difference for me.  When this health issue can be seen only in a rearview way we have a special place for her step on the third floor to be used as a plant stand.    I am sure Evie would smile.