I love being a college student and living on my own. It was one of the big attractions of graduation. It is the ultimate freedom because it is so recent and new. You really have a foot in two worlds. You are out of your parent’s hair and in your own individual zone. You are learning to fend for yourself and make your own way. It is delirious in its open-ended possibilities; and I relish it completely.
There are periods of adjustment and changes that have to be made. While you are on your own, you do take the past with you in objects and memories. The memories come in the form of a kind of mild homesickness for your regular routine. Sure, you call your parents and relatives, but you see them less often. As for objects, the dominant ones in my life when I relocated were parts of a childhood bedroom set including a rather moth-eaten mattress, a night stand, and a bed frame. It was a bit unsightly as it stood in my tiny room, seemingly out of place. But it had witnessed a lot of personal history, so there it stayed.
I wasn’t about to give up something free in any case, and I needed a bed right out of the box. Used was just fine. I didn’t know that two months later, I would make a good find. While wandering near the college and admiring the shops, I stumbled upon a used furniture store that appeared to have many antiques. This was an immediate draw as it meant good quality for a very little price. There would be no new items coming my way during that first semester.
I entered the premises with some anticipation. I had a sixth sense about the place. It was huge and jam packed full of stuff from old wood dressers to headboards. I gravitated quickly to this area and was overwhelmed with choices. They were all beautifully made, some hand carved with floral and scrollwork. I was rapt with attention and almost failed to notice the prize in my midst: a headboard the size of the best mattress that I could afford, with Celtic knots gracing the surface. They even had a matching pillowcase set, so that my pillows for neck pain would also match the headboard.
While there are many such emblems, they are all descendants of ancient Ireland during the old Roman Empire. These knots were used for religious decoration such as manuscript illumination of which the Book of Kells is the most famous. The abstract basket weave pattern that is characteristic is intricate and insanely beautiful. I have been obsessed with them for some time.
With my love for Celtic culture, you can imagine my surprise and delight. It couldn’t be! A Celtic knot on a headboard in a used furniture store in town. How did it get there? From where did it come? The shop owner really didn’t know much more than the fact that it was, indeed, Irish, and a hundred years old. He said that no one had identified the pattern before. He was thrilled to give me a good price on the headboard knowing my student status. I left a very happy girl.