Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Years of a Couch

When I was growing up, it was called a davenport. I believe Howard's family called it a sofa. Now it seems to be called a couch.

When Serena was just getting active, my Great-Uncle Charlie decided to move into a senior apartment complex near my parents. He was fascinated by Serena, I don't think he had been around a toddler much, and her energy level astonished him. (As it does, I believe, almost everyone around one!) One memory stands out, my parents had a step/seat in front of the fireplace, probably 9 inches to a foot tall. Serena was clambering up that, then she'd stand up and jump down. Over and over. And over. Charlie stood there and laughed, which, of course, encouraged her to continue. He was filled with delight, and so was she.

Charlie asked, somewhat shyly, if we would take some of his furniture. It would make him feel better if he knew where it was going. As we were fresh from grad school with few belongings, we accepted with joy. I'm not sure that I fell on his neck thanking him, but it was close! (grin)

So it was that we received some of Charlie's furniture. Now the nice thing about Charlie's furniture was/is that it was purchased by someone who stood right at 5 feet tall. In other words, his furniture fits me beautifully! The couch was oversized (it didn't fit in the door of the apartment when we were living there!) but it was just the right depth for me to be able to sit all the way back and my feet still could be flat on the floor. That is unusual.

Just after we received the furniture, we moved to Portland Oregon. We had the couch reupholstered. It needed it. Shortly after it came home, Serena took a red marker to the cushions. Thank goodness I could turn them over! That did, of course, mean that the cushions didn't get even wear.

I figured it up the other day. While we had it, the couch survived 2 children growing up, 8 cats, 7 moves, 2 stints in a storage unit, dirt roads and a lot of use! It, unfortunately, finally the wood started giving way. Re-upholstering just wouldn't work now. I didn't want to let it go without some sort of memory. So I kept a piece of the upholstery. There were 4 fabrics on the couch, so it had been reupholstered 3 times. Charlie had probably purchased it in the 20s, so the it had a good long life. The velvet (brown?) was the first. Then there is a tiny scrap of brocade (all I could get, the fabric was disintegrating.) That is a gold with a brown brocade. Then there is the gold brocade that was on it before we received it. The blue striped velvet was put on in Portland.

I don't know if the couch would have survived longer if it had been reupholstered again earlier. Somehow I doubt it. The nails in the arms had broken the wood when they pulled out. One of the legs broke as the couch was moved.

It was hard letting the couch go. It had been part of us for a long time. But it was time. We'll miss it. If I can't find another that allows my feet to touch the floor, we won't buy another.
Ideas on what to do with the fabric scraps?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow what interesting pics of the fabric on your couch. For those of us fasinated with material culture....

great stuff! Dianne