I had the strangest dream.
In this dream I was at my parents house. There were other relatives there. My uncle Mark was there helping to move dirt and boards that were covering a hole in the backyard. In the dream I called my uncle Matt instead of Mark, and this seemed to make him a little mad. Also in the dream, it seemed that I’d done this before, exasperating an already weird situation.
The reason why we were at my mom and dad’s place was because the hole they discovered led to a part of their basement they hadn’t had access to in over 40 years. I sat down with my feet dangling into this hole and I could see shelving in the hole which had all of these old artifacts from my older brother and I’s childhood. They were all these things that my mom had said she’d gotten rid of but were actually just hidden in this secret basement bunker. I even remember turning to someone that was sitting next to me(I don’t know who they were for sure, but it may have been my Aunt) and saying “I knew she couldn’t have gotten rid of all those things. Mom holds onto the past as much as I do.”
The drop down into the hole seemed significant but I found a ladder leaning on the wall where I sat and slowly made my way down it. I found all of these old toys, books, clothes, and even a giant U.S. map with push pins stuck into certain spots that had apparently been my older brother’s when he was 6 or 7 years old. There was a box with these commemorative dolls of Mark Russell(of PBS fame) that were the same size as those giant Star Wars action figures from the late 70s. Trash bags with old Disney puzzles and photo albums covered in years of dust. There were things in there that I actually do remember, as well as things I apparently just made up.
The room morphed from a dimly-lit basement space to what looked like a living room from the 1970s. My parents were down there, in their early 20s. I saw my older brother, he was maybe 6 or 7, and I saw myself as a barely 1-year old. I’m in my late-40s in this living room with my parents, older brother, and toddler version of myself. I can remember leaning down and tickling my older brother and him laughing. My dad was talking about how he looked away for just a second and someone had stuffed all their toys into the La-Z-Boy recliner. I looked down at the dark brown chair and saw that there were stuffed animals and Lincoln Logs sticking out from the creases of the big recliner.
I suddenly had this terrible feeling, like I was seeing something I shouldn’t be seeing. I even said aloud in the dream “I feel like I’m breaking through the space/time continuum”, but not in a funny way but a very serious and almost frightened way. I suddenly saw a scene from my childhood that never happened but in the dream felt very real and unnerving. My toddler self began choking on a balloon and my dad had to pull it out of my throat. There was an old 25″ tube TV with some strange commercial on as my dad removed this piece of latex out of my mouth that was certainly going to kill me.
Everything seemed to go back to normal in the house, but all I wanted to do was get out as quickly as possible. There was no way to get back to the basement hole where I jumped down in the first place. I wanted to find the front door but didn’t know where to look.
Then I woke up.
I was pretty unnerved for the first hour after waking up. Felt I needed to write out what I saw in my dream in order to try and make sense of it. I’m not sure I’ve done that yet, but some things are clearer in the daytime.
For one, my parents had a leak in their basement on July 4th. The water pressure tank for the well sprung a leak, filling their entire basement floor with water. My mom heard the sump pump kick on and thought that was weird so she went downstairs to find the floor flooded. My mom called my older brother that night asking if they had a wet/dry vac. They didn’t, but they had some fans they could bring over to help dry everything. My parents shut off the power to the well so the water would stop pumping into the tank, and the well guy came the next morning and fixed the pipe.
I found this out from my brother Monday morning when I saw him in his front yard working on his truck. He told me how our dad had an old, ratty extension cord lying in the water downstairs connected to his wet vac. We started talking about how our parents are showing their age. I’m looking at my brother with grey in his beard thinking he’s showing his age, too. I’m sure he was thinking the same thing about me. We had a good laugh and I continued on my walk in the heat, the thought of all of us aging losing its humor with each step into the confection oven-like temps.
Some of that dream was culled from those events, for sure. But there were still things that seemed so random and alien. Mark Russell dolls? U.S. map? Recliner with toys hidden in it? Calling my uncle Mark, Matt? Then just the feeling that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I’ve had dreams in the past about finding hidden rooms in my mom and dad’s house. Rooms that were sealed years ago where I found old paintings and blankets from my childhood seemingly just left in there to collect dust. Or even finding an old, dilapidated castle that was actually the castle from NES Castlevania. I can remember walking around in this 8-bit cavern for the Count. It was very strange but not unnerving like this dream I had early this morning.
There’s a lot going on, honestly. My wife and oldest daughter are leaving early Sunday morning with my daughter’s friends for South Carolina. They’ve rented a condo for all of next week. My 18-year old leaves early Sunday as well for a week in Florida with her friends. It’ll just be my son and I home next week, hanging out eating what we feel like and watching what we feel like. Oh, and the dog, too. He’ll be there. We just bought a car yesterday, too. Our 18-year old’s open house was a little over a week ago as well and took a lot out of us.
Things are changing, ready or not. I guess my subconscious is coping by putting me in a dated living room hidden in a portion of my parents basement that’s been hidden for years. Seeing my parents struggling with two little kids, much like my wife and I struggled with three. It’s not as scary or unnerving when I put it like that.
I’ll have to tell my mom and dad about that room in the basement. The one their flood unearthed. Or maybe I’ll just keep that to myself for now.