Monday, February 13, 2012

A Couch Is For Sitting....

Is'nt it strange the names we give things? Living room, for instance. Makes you wonder what goes on in all the other rooms. And how can you speak of living rooms without speaking of living room furniture.....

Our very first set of living room furniture came to us as a wedding present from the OC's Godfather. He gave some money to my father-in-law to pass along to us to buy the furniture. But the thought of what we might choose, left to our own devices, made The Prince shudder. Obviously it would be a much better idea for him to choose what we should have, since he, unquestionably, had superior taste in such matters.

And so we lived for the first decade of our married life, with a very formal, brocade-covered couch, matching love seat, coordinating chair and the ugliest Scandinavian modern, glass-topped coffee and end tables ever. He had been thwarted on the whole subject of our getting married at all, so this was one small way in which he attempted to continue to control our lives. I was meeker then, a little afraid of him, conscious that I was supposed to be grateful, and happy enough that we wouldn't have to sit on the floor.

A decade or so later, living in California, with a whole continent between us and him, we lost the run of ourselves entirely, ditched the brocade and the glass, and bought a tweedy blue and beige set of couches. On a trip to San Diego we bought a coffee table made from an old hatch cover from The Star Of India. We have it still. To the Prince it looks like a piece of junk, but it is likely the thing that each of our children will want when we die!



 The only couch we had when I was growing up in was in the "sitting room." If you were posh, you called it the parlor, a word that sent us into fits of giggles. We were not that posh. The sitting room windows faced north and it was frigid in there. My mother didn't have a freezer but that didn't matter---- she had the sitting room, which was just as good. Bigger even. The door was kept shut all the time, except for Christmas and Easter, and any time relatives from far away came to visit. Back then, fifty miles qualified as far away.

 I think the reason it was called the sitting room might have been because the people for whom it was opened, aired and warmed, were the kind of people who could be depended upon to actually sit. There was very little danger  for instance, that my grandmother, or my aunts,  would suddenly take it into their heads to start jumping on the couch.....or that my uncles would suddenly get the urge to wrestle and roll around on the floor. Definitely not a room where horseplay was encouraged.

When we did use it, my mother lit the fire and it became downright cozy in there! The couch faced the fireplace and there were two comfortable chairs on either side. There was a lovely  glow from the lamps on the bookcases, and the  water colours on the walls lent a genteel touch. My mother had made fitted slipcovers for the couch and chairs. The fabric was off-white and linen-y, with an old fashioned flower design. I thought they were beautiful, and that it was a shameful waste that we couldn't live so elegantly all the time. Though I might have thought differently if I'd been paying the heating bills.

Since they were not subjected to daily wear and tear, those couches looked as good the day I left home as they did when I was a little girl.

Not so our couches now. The blue grew old and tattered, helped along by five energetic children, a variety of dogs, and one snooty cat with very sharp claws. It was replaced in North Dakota by an over sized, tan set which we have loved, not wisely perhaps, but very well. Unlike the Prince, we actually live in the room we call the living room. If those couches could talk it would set tongues wagging! Small people have bounced on them;  larger people have snored on them; young men have slept off varying degrees of inebriation on them; there has been a certain amount of canoodling on them; people who would never dream of snoring find them comfortable for sitting and stitching; a certain cat thinks they belong exclusively to him. The same cat is not above sharpening his weapons on the sides, and so the couches, while comfortable and endearingly familiar, are showing their age. "Shabby" would not be an exaggeration. They have traveled with us to Europe and back; trundled in moving vans from North Dakota to Minnesota and finally, to Florida, sometimes called God's Waiting Room.

 Their wait is over.

The couch god in the sky is calling them home.

Even though there is no longer a continent between us, I will not be asking The Prince to go couch shopping with me. He still thinks we are not to be trusted; still thinks he would choose better. But I am no longer the meek, pliable little innocent of forty years ago. I think I know the kind of furniture that will fit our "living," our  bouncing, even our "sitting."  And I'm certain I know what I do not like, at least as far as couches go.

 If he is very good, I might invite him over to sit on the new couch when it comes, just as long as he promises not to deliver a lecture on what he would have bought, had he been consulted. Sniff.

 And, just to be on the safe side, I'll tell him there's to be no bouncing.


11 comments:

Calvin said...

Hehe. A very enjoyable post. Perhaps the Prince would be more comfortable seated in his own "throne room"?

Ali Honey said...

When I was growing up we had a sitting room, but ever since we have been married we call the room where we sit the lounge....maybe we sit badly....lounge about.
We also have a laundry, not a wash house. All just names for the same places really.
I know about the Star of India in that harbour over there. That same ship was previously called the Euterpe and my paternal great grandmother came from London to New Zealand on it in 1870. ( she may have touched your table!)

Thimbleanna said...

What a fun post Molly! Good Luck with your shopping -- having just gone through it myself, it's very daunting. There are SO many choices available now -- it's both fun and frustrating!

Isabelle said...

We tend to say "sofa" rather than "couch". But then, we are very posh.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

The first sofa we had , deep and impossible to get up out of , had been hastily passed on to us by an an elderly aunt after an impulse buy . And so we progressed , the family growing and spilling things on various cast-offs .
But , at last , we went mad and paid roughly what my parents' first house cost for a big squidgy and very comfortable "bank", as they're called in Holland .

rachel said...

You know, Molly, you sound saintly with regard to that man! I think you deserve a new couch.

Kacey said...

I loved this and hated it at the same time. I have a sister-in-law who knows everything about everything and I am left fuming after visitting with her. I take it "the prince" hasn't changed since the loss of his wife, so bless your heart for taking his guff. We have been known to call that particular object a couch, sofa, divan or davenport. I just looked at a picture on one of my kid's facebooks and the couch in the picture was one I purchased 34 years ago and it is still in active use. Smith of Berne, Indiana made tough stuff!

Pauline said...

To see the Prince bouncing might be worth it all!

Stomper Girl said...

Really, you'd say lounge room here, but ours started off being called "the Grown-Ups Room" and somehow has become "the Lego Room". They're not supposed to throw stuff in there but they still manage a fair bit of bounce-type behaviour!

Meggie said...

Ah Molly, reading your posts has cheered me no end! We too, called it the sitting room, but never the parlour. Nowadays it is lounge, which used to puzzle me, as I thought a lounge to be a peice of funiture!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Too bad about the no-bouncing. That man could use a burly bouncer to remove him from the premises, and your misery.

My younger daughter, taken on a road trip as a toddler, wanted to know why no one was resting in the rest rooms we encountered along the way.