It was "Library" in my room when I was little. My bedroom, for a little while, was my Dad's former study. Which meant - as the history buff that he was - bicentennial wallpaper (no, really), prints of Chief Joseph framed into the walls, and rows of bookshelves where the closet should have been. It was all fine with me - I was very happy to be surrounded by all those books and happy to fill any empty spaces with my own - which was a healthy mix of Louisa May Alcott, Sweet Valley High, and Jean Auel. (I will admit to covering up Chief Joseph with Cyndi Lauper and maybe Duran Duran for a very short time.) With three little sisters, and a love for organizing, and also, perhaps, a strange fixation with the Dewey Decimal System (I hung out in the school library whenever I possibly could and pretty much had a crush on every librarian I ever met), it was only natural that my room would be the "Library". Where anyone could come, check out books, fill out the cards in the back of the book and I would file, shelf and do all the things that a good librarian does. Including sending typed notices of your late books, slipped under your bedroom door.
For one of my sisters, I remember, it was "Shoe Store" which was aided greatly by the late 80's/early 90's shoe obsession that our mother had with buying one style of shoe in at least five different colors. She sort of still does the same, I think (sorry, Mom. Love you.). It worked out perfectly for my sister Katie, though....and I remember "shopping" in her bedroom for just the right bright yellow pair of pumps to wear with my stretch pants and turtleneck sweater.
I've loved watching all the Art Museums, Craft Stores, Bike Shops, Flower Shops - and on and on - that have popped up through the years with our own kids. (Though I sure would like to play Library or Shoe Store, I'll wait till they suggest it). Those projects that become all-consuming for a day or many, that suddenly inspire a very messy bedroom to get whipped into shape before the 'customers' show up, and the sibling generosity and extra kindness to ensure that there actually will be customers. All of it is wonderful, and a reminder for me that kids - my kids at least - need freedom in their days, time in which to be 'bored,' and time in which to create whatever it may be.
The latest incarnation has been Sweet Soule, a once-a-week pop-up bakery in Adelaide's room. Gift cards were made for everyone, though she is more than happy to take cash if you'll offer - as Gram did (as Grams do), and as her oldest brother did at the end of the night to 'take everything!' that was left (as older brothers will do). I will confess that I was more than a bit resistant to this particular shop plan on the Sunday night it was announced. Really? The kitchen? Don't we spend enough time in there and really are you going to clean up after yourself? Because I don't want to wash a single dish more than I have to. Is this just a way to get sweets? And when she presented me with the cookbook and recipe she had chosen (Cinnamon Buns from Good to the Grain), I tried to steer her towards something simpler - less time consuming, fewer ingredients, less complicated. Nope, this is the one, she declared. And I relented. Because sometimes the "yes" that we issue to these kids - the yes that we know they need and that deep in our hearts we want to give them - is not a resounding YES! but more like a "fine....". So that's what she got. Fine. Do it. (But that's still a yes...)
And in the end of course, I was glad I did. So very glad. She had a lovely day of activity and focus and baking (that cookbook really is wonderful and that recipe just perfectly written). And we all enjoyed the fruits of her labor when at long last, the buns had risen three times over and were ready for the storefront (on her Great-Grammie's cake plates and linens). No detail was left untouched - when it seemed that the late morning opening was not going to happen (having not read the recipe all the way through), she shifted to a candlelight dessert setting. And no one can complain about that kind of thing.
We're all looking forward to next Monday, when we hear that the Moosewood six-minute chocolate cake will be on the menu. Though I did find Martha Stewart's Cupcake book stuffed under her pillow last night when I said goodnight. Sweet Soule might have a surprise in store for us. I'm eager to find out.