My Life In Furniture

There’s a reason why I don’t sleep on a chair and ottoman all night like I did Sunday night. My body woke up on Monday saying, “What the hell, Lynn?” Crack, crack, pop. My back sounded like a fireworks display.

I was in Pittsburgh to meet a friend for a few drinks at Station Square. Afterwards, I stayed at my daughter’s apartment. Her former boyfriend took his bed when he moved out, so she’s sleeping on her childhood double bed these days. I could have crawled in next to her and slept somewhat more comfortably, but me and the chair have a great history and so I thought I’d sleep on an old friend instead.

My life history in furniture is on display at both my children’s homes. Along with the chair and ottoman, Carlene has another one of my large ottomans, a dresser, a vanity I got at an auction for a few bucks, and some of my mother’s end tables. Cassie has my old couch, a rocking chair and ottoman, an armoire, a few book shelves and the plaster ducks my mother used to keep in her living room. I think Cass has my roaster and folding chairs, too.

The chair and ottoman I slept on the other night had a matching couch, but it went to the big furniture store in the sky after her last move. There were holes in the fabric so large that her cats would crawl inside and get stuck in the springs. The wood frame was visible and little fabric staples poked out along the seams. It was its time to go, but it was sad to see it sticking out of the Dumpster at the apartment complex.

I bought the couch, chair and ottoman with husband #3 in 1990. It was long and black with overstuffed pillows that served as the back rest. The seat was so wide, almost like a twin bed, that my feet didn’t reach the floor when I sat back against the pillows. It could seat four adults or several small children comfortably. I had no problem offering it to guests as a place to sleep because it was more comfortable than any bed I’d ever owned.

We played board games on it – Monopoly, Life, backgammon – and watched movies huddled together under blankets. I spent many nights doing my college homework there, papers and books spread out everywhere. It’s a good thing it was black because it took its share of grape juice, orange juice, milk and wine spills. The Scotchgard wore off years ago, but the stains were never apparent.

The couch saw a lot of action, too, over the years, but I’ll just leave that to your imagination.

When Carlene and I went to Minnesota last year, we drove through Chicago and stayed with our friend, Heather. We’d never been to Heather’s before so imagine our excitment when we went into her living room and saw our black couch! Same design, same fabric, same overstuffed pillows. Only this one was completely in tact. No holes, no stains, and the fabric hadn’t starting pilling. That’s because Heather only had one child at the time who was still really little. Heather had another baby recently so now there are two and I’m sure very soon that couch will start aging the way a good parent ages – with patience and tolerance of the sweet abuse of children.

Carlene starts grad school next month and so will be moving into a studio apartment on campus. She asked me if I wanted the chair and ottoman back and before she could get the words out I said, “Absolutely!” I have the perfect place for it, too. And I will sit on it faithfully, probably even spill some wine on it and more than a few crumbs. It might also get some action. Who know?

I do know I won’t be sleeping on it, at least not a full night. Like its counterpart, the old couch, I am frayed and torn and aging not-so-gracefully. I just hope I don’t find myself head first in a Dumpster some day!

One thought on “My Life In Furniture

  1. Furniture in my family gets passed around. In college I had a tiny roll top desk, when I got married the desk went to live with my grandpa, his wife still has the desk. I now have my grandma’s desk, which holds so many childhood memories. I was so pleased to have it after she died. My daughter has the bedroom I wanted when I was little. She has my dressers (two three drawer jobs with a hutch on each) and the bed of my dreams. I had just a twin mattress on a frame, she has a white metal “princess” bed. Since the bed is a twin if she ever decides she wants a bigger bed I’ll convert her bed into a couch or daybed or something. It’s always sad when it’s time for a beloved piece of furniture to go to the great furniture place in the sky.

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