After Esther moved into her new pink trailer, her three youngest children lived in the house covered in brown shingles. One of the bedrooms was sealed from the rest of the house with a brass padlock. Only Esther knew where the key was kept and she never once had reason to go into the highly secretive room. Her son Barry, along with a sixteen year-old wife, Lou, took the secluded bedroom with four windows at the back of the house. The room had the most privacy in the old house. It was separated from other bedrooms by a large living room. Youngest daughter Betina slept in a small room next to the front porch in a portion of the house that was added on after Esther had given birth to her second daughter Berdetta. Betina shared the cozy little room with several men, all of whom she had met at a bar just outside of Huntingdon. Every one of the men had been brought to the farm house atop Stone Creek Ridge under a false impression that Betina was falling in love and was ready to get married. Betina was under pressure to find a man because she had always been known as a Tom Boy and there were concerns that she may never truly want a family and farm of her own one day. Betina hated being the last of the Taylor children to get married at the Lutheran Church, but considering what Bea had been doing to make a living, the pressure on her own reputation subsided. She convinced several men to fall madly in love with her. These men, often skinny and prematurely bald managed to spend more than two weeks at the place, but often they would run out of the house screaming, with everything that was theirs tucked under their arms. Betina was known for picking fights, especially when she was drunk, and on Stone Creek Ridge, drinking was all there was to do when there was no rent to be paid. Betina would threaten to cut her boyfriend’s balls with a rusty saw. The men saw evil in her hazel eyes. Romances for Betina lasted no longer than a loaf of bread would before getting moldy. She slept in the little room alone most of the time, where in her drunken dreams, she somehow managed to let go of a hidden desire to be naked next to another woman.
Esther’s blonde daughter Bernice did not drink heavily, nor was she a whore like the family’s eldest girl, Bea. ‘Bernie’, as Bernice was called, was not a blonde like Marilyn Monroe was a blonde. Bernie’s hair was not pure white like snow, either. Her hair had a subtle red glow inherited from her mother Esther, yet she was not a true redhead, in the sense that one could see the sunset in the strands. Bernie thought of her hair as too frizzy for a real blonde. She wished she had hair like Barry’s wife Lou. Lou’s hair was straight and grew all the way down to her ass without curling or becoming frizzy. Dark mascara surrounding Bernie’s blue eyes did not cause her to look like a raccoon. Instead, it added a bit of mischief to her demeanor, which was often was shy, mysterious and withdrawn. Bernie was as wholesome as a girl could be in those days. She didn’t drink a lot and smoked only for fun. She took over the master bedroom with her new husband Barry. It seemed a little crazy and confusing with two men named Barry living in the house, especially considering Barry Rupert, Bernie’s husband, could easily pass as a twin of her brother, Barry, who always wished he had a brother his own age, and not another sister with red hair who always made him play girl games. Barry had to play the part of a sick patient in his sister’s imaginary hospitals or triage units that the girls constructed with old sheets Esther had given them. Even as a young man, Barry Taylor resented all of his sisters for how they had mistreated him when he was a little boy. All Barry ever wanted to do was play cowboys and Indians. Having Barry Rupert around was refreshing to him, especially since Barry Taylor was not the type to drink and just sit around and play with themselves, like little girls.
Esther insisted that the room filled with her clothing, wigs and big, cozy bed remain locked and off- limits. The bed that Esther shared with her husband George was too large to fit inside her new mobile home. When a woman needs to let go of the spirit of a man from whom all her children came, it is best to no longer sleep in the same bed. It is not easy to throw away anything that love and children were made upon, either. Esther felt it would be best to let the bed stay in that old house, in the same spot it had always been. She was fearful that one of her own kids would be silly enough to make out or drink on it, staining the beautiful quilt that was sewn with Amish precision, so a lock went on the door and was not open for nearly ten years.
Esther’s mother Granny Morgan who moved to the farm with Esther after she had married George for his money, huge farm and seemingly endless acres of land. All seven Esther’s children’s names, starting with the letter ‘B”, were sewn in cursive upon the quilt by Esther’s mother, Granny Morgan. It was a wedding gift. Esther loved the quilt too much to let anything happen to it, yet she chose not to take it with her to her new trailer either. In a sense, she had to let the soul of her mother go too when she moved out of that house. It seemed funny that they were both dead now. Her mother often stormed out of the house in anger at George. This act always puzzled Esther. She did not understand, nor did she try to comprehend the relationship her mother had with her husband. Granny Morgan would walk for miles in the dead of night, stomping down the dirt lanes that were so common atop Stone Creek Ridge. George eventually would give-in, jump in his car, and drive around for hours searching for Granny Morgan who often put up a great fight, refusing to get in the car to be driven back home. Esther simply locked the bedroom door after George killed himself. Granny Morgan had died years ago already. The room, in her eyes, was not suitable for anyone else to sleep in. There was an invisible anger, or evilness inside, it seemed at times.
There was an antique lamp in Esther and George’s old room. It had a peculiar shade that glowed after the bulb was shut off. After so many years, the shade still emitted a translucent green glow, but only after it was fully charged from at least an hour of the light bulb being turned on. With none of the kids using that room, and with Esther off in her new pink trailer, the shade slowly faded out and chipped away and rotted, but the spirits inside the old farmhouse did not. With each passing can of beer, memories of both George and Granny Morgan slowly faded, but the door always stayed locked, and for anyone living the house that was known for flickering lights when those who had passed were mentioned, there was a sense that bad luck would befall the one foolish enough to go snooping around Esther’s blonde and black wigs.
It seemed right to Esther to leave both the cherished blanket and the old lamp in the room next to her bed. The mounted head of a ten point buck shot among George’s Christmas tree crop looked as real as it did the day he drug it through the orchard and up the hill. Esther did not want the deer head in her new trailer. Its glowing black eyes stared straight ahead like it had always done when she put the lock on the door. Esther remembered staring blankly into the glow of the green lamp shade, just like a deer mounted on the wall, when George made love to her. The smell of his breath was intense sometimes, but the glow of the lamp soothed Esther’s mind and enabled her to imagine other things outside the mundane existence of a life of a girl trapped on a farm. Esther, for a short time, thought the cause of having nothing but girls was due to the glow of that lamp that she could not help but escaping into when life seemed like such a trap.