This Is Us


A lifetime of memories in and about the place where we rest our heads

Erica Rhodes
Human Parts
Published in
3 min readNov 14, 2020


The author at 5 years old, modeling a waterbed.

In bed we laugh, in bed we cry;
And, born in bed, in bed we die.
The near approach a bed may show
Of human bliss to human woe.
—Isaac de Benserade

When I was little, I was so afraid of the dark that I begged my sister to let me sleep on her floor. I didn’t care that it was a hard surface, as long as I wasn’t alone.

Now I’m not afraid of the dark, but I’m very picky about my mattresses. Oh, how we grow and change and choose different things to fear.

“One little blanky for baby, two little blankies for baby, three little blankies for baby…. and now she is asleep,” was the lullaby my dad sang to me as a kid while tucking me in at night. I loved his made-up song, but snidely pointed out I was never actually asleep when he sang the last line.

My first job was modeling a waterbed.

At five years old, I pretended to sleep while photographers surrounded me oohing, aahing, and exclaiming, “She’s sooooo cute!” I thought, If this is showbiz, sign me up!

And just like that, I made my bed: a lifetime of pretending to sleep with very little recognition. (Apparently, you can’t fake-sleep your way to the top.)