A leak from the attic: What I found next reminded me how temporary we are.

I sat quietly in my office this morning when, all of a sudden, a drop of water fell to my desk. And then another. I looked up and noticed that my ceiling was leaking. Quickly, I called our wonderful facilities crew and then went downstairs. Now, there was a lot of snow here in the area last night, so I assumed our roof had a leak, which caused the leak above my desk.

What I found out next surprised me.

I knew our office, which is located in a house, was once student housing. But, only the first and second floors were used as student bedrooms prior to it being converted to our office. The leak was coming from the attic (FYI- this is not a scary story--there was not a ghost or goblin residing in the attic!). A radiator had started leaking in the attic. My first thought, why would the attic be heated?

There was a bedroom up there!

Yes, a bedroom! In the depths of the attic, was a small bedroom that was used likely by the owners prior to the College.

Our stairs to the second floor are carpeted, but the stairs to the attic retained their simple, wooden decoration. On the west side of the attic was a small bedroom. It was probably 130 square feet (easily a double, says the housing guy).

Stickers that surrounded someone's desk, dresser, or bed still remained, as well as a small coat hanger and shelf. The radiator that warmed the bedroom (not the attic, just the bedroom) had leaked. But this discovery (which others likely knew about, but I had overlooked somehow) right above my head (literally) gave me a feeling of nostalgia and realization of how temporary we all are. Not just in life, but also in our jobs, in our homes, with our friends. We have small amounts of time with everyone in our life--parents, siblings, children. A house may provide the location for these relationships, but our memories are what stay with us. What memories are you making with the people in your life?

I think about whoever lived in that bedroom (and this house...hopefully not just that bedroom!--that would be a scary movie) and the memories they had here. I think about my childhood house on Moriches Ave in Mastic, NY, and how I feel like I lived forever in that house, even though I moved out when I was about 7 years old. I had good memories there.

Or, this was just some random room or playroom--but I like my interpretation better. (Update: Historical documents show that Ralph Bullard, a HWS professor, resided in the home when it was privately owned.)

Things are just things, and things will last long after us. It is the memory, how we choose to spend the time in the present, that we have to cherish--that's what we'll take with us on each step of our journey.


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© 2020 by Dr. Brandon Barile

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