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  • (Bunk)

    My first encounter with a bunk bed was a triple at Uncle Elliot’s summer cabin on a stinky lake with a colorful brown nickname. All five cabins were built before alkaline was deemed stench, or the builders had lost all olfactory sense. Fortunately someone dug a freshwater well, and upon exiting the rancid sewer of a lake, you could wash. Since there were four of us in that wee room, the floor served as the additional layer of bunk. Disadvantages were abundant. A fall from the top bunk would mean a nasty injury, which would be the demise of your swimming lessons; the sole reason for being there. The floor, in contrast, held the distinct disadvantage for the chance of being fallen upon, which could be about as harsh a consequence as those resulting from a drop from the top. The middle was no much better off for you had to tolerate weird sounds and smells coming from above and below, as well as the vertical narrowness of the cubby holes. The avoidance of several harsh head bumps from collisions with wood was not an option. You learned to live with bruises. It was either that or go home a landlubber, which would mean you lose all chance of learning how to swim.
    Besides, Mother had already paid.
    For the first few nights, all four of us wanted greener pasture, except that there were four pastures. So with all the intermittent switching from the syndrome, sleep was nigh impossible. I compared it to living in trenches during WWI, which I confess I borrowed from Uncle. He often reminded us of that hell in his attempt to stop the incessant moaning.
    In time we learned a secret: to sneak in during daylight hours to nap. 15 minutes seemed a Godsend, as that was about the length of time before Joey had the same idea. Fifty years later, bunks are still illicit mental reaction.