To keep some sanity, she began reorganizing and redecorating her room at the beginning of the isolation period. Sperlbaum was bored, and she needed something to do that was time consuming. She added a new tapestry, desk and wardrobe. Along with additional decorations she changed the complete layout of her room, but when she places her bed in her room, the orientation is centered around her photo wall.
“My bed used to be against the photo wall so I was like, ‘I'll just look over and all the good memories will be right there,” Sperlbaum said. “But now my bed is facing it, so I'm always thinking about how visible the photos will be if I rearrange my room.”
Sperlbaum started her photowall two years ago. Originally it only consisted of six images. Now, the wall has over 120 pictures. She added almost half of them since COVID. Sperlbaum found it therapeutic to search through pictures, and it allowed me to reminisce on when things were normal.
For more than ten years, Tater Tot, Sperlbaum's cat, has been a constant in her life. Through thick and thin it seems like the two are always drawn to one another and support each other when times get rough.
“He always makes me so happy and this sounds so cheesy but, he never has anything to say,” Sperlbaum said. “If I come home crying, he's happy to see me and hugs my face to make me feel better.”
Before lockdown, Tater Tot already spent most of his time in Sperlbaum’s room. But, once lockdown happened and Sperlbaum was always home, they connected and it made her experience in quarantine a little less lonesome.
Even before Covid-19, she decided it was time to start organizing. Sperlbaum needed more space for clothes that were lying around her room. She built an infamous IKEA wardrobe. It took her a long time and she did most of the work by herself; Her dad only helped her with the door hinges.
“It just felt cool to build that huge thing,” Sperlbaum said. “When you look at it, it's really big, and then I remember like, ‘Oh wait, I built that by myself.”
Being able to look at it everyday and think back on when she built the wardrobe makes Sperlbaum feel accomplished.
Sperlbaum has only had her own room for the past three years — before then, she shared a room with her older sister. The bright turquoise walls and green bedspreads didn’t go unmissed as Sperlbaum customized every inch of the room. But, there were also objects that were taken out of the room by her sister that were significant to Sperlbaum.
In kindergarten, Sperlbaum made a sign that had her name on it in beans. When her sister was in kindergarten, she made the same sign. They hung these signs on the front door of their room after they were made and they stayed there until her sister moved to the basement.
“You never really think about how long ago something was or how fast time goes until you sit down and think about it,” Sperlbaum said. Three years ago, her sister took down the sign and the symbolic message behind these flimsy papers with beans glued onto them was revealed.
Though Sperlbaum wasn’t upset about the move for her sister, there were emotions of both excitement and nostalgia when she left.