Monday, 19 November 2007
On the Couch
As I sit here at my computer I am looking at one of my most prized possessions. It is a couch.
This couch was from the first set of furniture my parents ever bought. I’m guessing that they bought it when they got married and moved in together for the first time, at a time before couples did the whole try-before-you-buy type thing before finally traipsing up the aisle. I would have been born one year later, so the first year must have gone okay, I suppose.
This makes the couch forty years old next month and it is in a bit of a state. I have been under pressure to get rid of the couch recently. It badly needs reupholstered and its cushions replaced. Yesterday, I nearly agreed to throw it out after a serious discussion about the price of new couch versus cost of upholstering. But the couch has had a stay of execution once more. The more I thought about it, the more I felt guilty for even considering that it should leave my house forever. It is to be recovered- no matter what the cost.
Let me tell you about that couch.
It is a Swedish day bed. Personally, I think it is a design classic. My mother, the original puchaser of said couch is irritated that I still have it.
“I can’t believe you still have this ratty old couch. Throw it out. It was only meant to get you through University”. She will be further enraged that I am going to get it reupholstered for the third time; she can hardly bear to look at it.
My mum is unsentimental about things like that. She chucks cool stuff out all the time. When I was a teenager I was raging at her for throwing out the best ever pair of purple suede Stevie Nicks style knee length boots that I remembered from my childhood. “Oh I threw them out years ago, what do you want them for?” She failed to realise these boots would be my ticket to Goth heaven.
My dad, by contrast, keeps everything. I wore my dad’s original “Beatles jumper”, (for that’s what crew neck jerseys were called in the sixties -check out the Hard Day's night album cover for details), until it fell to pieces. I bet he’s still got the receipt for it somewhere.
The thing is, I just can’t get rid of the couch. My first childhood memories are associated with that couch. I held my baby brother and baby sister for the first time on that couch. I lay on that couch watching "Pipkins" (best children's TV show ever?) when I was off school ill.
My first ever cat, Fluff (so original with the names, eh?) got her head snecked in the storage opening of that couch when we raided it on a Saturday morning for sleeping bags in which to watch “Swap Shop”. The vet said she wouldn’t survive the week- she lived for another twelve years.
Me and my brother were convinced we could teach ourselves to fly if we jumped off that couch enough times. (Still trying!)
But most important of all, the couch features in my earliest memory. My first ever memory is standing on that couch to watch out the window for my Dad coming home from work; a daily ritual. The couch, the window and the street below is all I can remember of tenement lined Swindon Street, my first ever home. The street has long since been bulldozed.
Here’s the picture. I am standing on the couch, looking out the window for my dad to hop off the bus. I have my hands slapped up against the glass as I peer out waiting for the bus to come down the street taking the hoardes of blokes home from John Brown Engineering (they built the QE2, you know, fact fans!). I see him come off the bus, and wait for him to spot me at the window and wave. I must have been around two years old.
How can I let the couch go?
(Thanks for the prompt, my lovely Tatooed Atheist.)