Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Couch revisited

When we moved here 9 years ago, we had a new baby, and a crib to put her in. I had a changing table someone gave me, and my old dresser drawers, that were mine, as a child. That was pretty much it.

Oh...and a couch.

We were given a couch, by my parents. That too was  from my childhood. It was purchased in 1975, when I was 4, and there is a photo of me sitting next to it, when it was brand new. It was 70's decor at its finest. The couch has a bamboo print on it, and is green. A bright, yellowish green. It was in our family room, along with a love seat, atop bright green shag carpeting. It was a part of my childhood, and young adulthood.

 I laid on the love seat, sick with the chicken pox, while my sister lay on the couch, with the same illness. I sat on that couch to read, because it was right next to the lamp. I sat on that couch at the holidays, when there was no room on the love seat. I laid on that couch and cried, when my high school boyfriend broke up with me. That green couch was always there. Ever present, and blindingly green.

We had nothing to sit on, when we arrived here in PA, and my mom said take the couch. It was in their bedroom then, in their new house. Gone was the living room from my childhood. The house, long sold. A room left only in my mind. We took the offer, and I quickly went out and purchased a slipcover for it. While moving it into the house, David and my Dad bumped it, and it lost a leg. We piled some books under it, and I assumed that it was temporary. I would soon be furniture shopping, and the couch would be a memory.

But here it sits. 9 years later, and two more kids added in. Bills to pay, and cars to try and repair. The furniture shopping never got done. The slipcovers have been changed out a few times, but there sits the green couch. A constant in my life. Something that has held me, and family members, no longer on this earth. Sitting quietly in my living room. I laughed to myself this past summer as I had my 40th birthday, and thought about being 4, sitting next to it in all of it's newness. All of my newness, as well. Never in a gazillion years would I have imagined my own kids lying on it, sick with fevers, and reading Harry Potter.

I put some laundry away last night, and as I opened up my pajama drawer, I was hit with a smell of time. The dressers were given to us last year. They are ancient, and were in David's grandfathers house. We lost him last year. He was 93, or 94. He never knew for sure because he was born on the kitchen table in Brooklyn, and never had a proper birth certificate.He lost track of his own age through the years, so it was a guesstimate.

We loved Grandpa Joe. My kids adored him. I was constantly blown away by my own children having such a close relationship with their great grandfather. He helped us buy this home. He gave us a chance at having a life. I miss him everyday, and welcomed some of his furniture, after he died, and the house was sold. That house was like walking into a time capsule. Nothing changed from the day him, and David's grandmother purchased, and decorated the house, all those years ago. Even the kitchen curtains remained. Pink gingham, to match the plates, and the pink tile, and believe it or not, the pink oven and stove.

When we got the dressers, I cleaned them up a bit, and found an ancient looking bobby pin, and a stamp. A ten cent stamp. Cast aside so many years ago, and living in a crevice of the drawer. But to me, it was evidence of a woman I  never had the privilege to meet. A woman who just by her presence on the earth, is the reason my own children are here. Those same children who now stand next to those pieces of furniture. She never would have imagined that, I bet.Yet here they are, in my home. Nicked, and marred from years of wear. Quiet remnants of rooms gone. People no more, but given new life.

I realize it is just a couch. Held up by books. And drawers, holding clothes. Nothing more. But even if I had the money to finally go on that furniture shopping trip that I assumed would come with being a new homeowner, I would be so sad to see that couch sitting alongside the garbage cans. And the dressers...I couldn't ask for more beautiful bedroom furniture.