“Harry’s Room”


This morning I listened to the liturgical readings and heard about the prophet Elisha who stayed over at a couple’s house so often that they built him his own little house on their roof. It reminded me of “Harry’s Room,” a cherished place in my childhood home pictured above.

The house had been built in 1909 for a family of three, parents and one child, and  several servants. The parents had a suite, the child had a suite and the servants lived in two rooms on the third floor. There were front stairs and back stairs, a full pantry and a small room off the kitchen by the back stairs. We never determined the intended use for this room since by the time we moved in the house had been used as a group home. Perhaps it was a cloak room, perhaps the cook slept there. At any rate it was always called “Harry’s Room.” It held a twin bed, a lamp, a desk and a chair and had a pocket door installed for privacy.

Harry was the district attorney for a rural Oregon county and had to come into Portland regularly. He always stayed at our home. Even after he moved to a position in Washington, D.C., he still came West fairly regularly and stayed in “his” room.

I smiled this morning when I realized that giving him his own room connected me with ancient readings. Harry wasn’t a prophet, but we welcomed him all the same.


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