Friday, November 20, 2015

Our Real-Life Twilight Zone or, A One-of-a-Kind Chartreuse Sofa

We moved into our one-bedroom student apartment right after our marriage in December 1974.  Our possessions consisted of a an assortment of dated clothing, a few pots and pans, a double-size fold-up portable bed my husband's folks gave us so they could free up space in their garage, a couple of beat-up end tables his folks didn't want any more, a tiny dinette table his folks also didn't want, and a couple of kitchen chairs my folks didn't want because the metal struts on the chair back popped out of the frame all the time, stabbing the sitter in the back.  His folks also gave us a lamp whose hardware was broken so that if we touched it in the wrong place we got an electric shock.  Nobody had a junky cast-off TV to give us so we had to do without one.

We craved something to sit on in the little living room, a place to be comfortable while we studied.  At the local Deseret Industries we found this odd-looking chartreuse sofa for not much money, which was delivered to us a couple of days later.  Its oddness was this: both the back and the seat portions sort of bowed out.  When you sat on the seat it was like sitting on a giant log because it was kinda rounded.  Leaning against the back was also like leaning on a huge log--you felt the curve in your back.  But it was a soft curve and we got used to it.

About a year later we had to move the sofa away from the wall for some reason, and suddenly, it fell apart.  I mean not completely apart, but the back fell away from the seat so that it was flat--ish (and that's a really big ISH), and we realized that what we had was not a sofa, but a bizarre type of sofa bed.   Mmm, that could come in handy for visitors.

When the visitors did arrive--my mom and my sister--we worked the sofa into bed-mode, threw a bedsheet on it, and invited them to make themselves at home for the night.  It was the worst night's sleep of their lives.   The curve of the seat and matching curve of the back made them both roll into the crevasse in the center, all night long.  It was like sleeping on an open hoagie roll--no matter how much you try to flatten that roll out, each side is always going to bounce back up.

Well, we had our first baby and I spent my days nursing him on the sofa.   My nights were spent holding my screaming colicky baby on that sofa, propping my eyelids open with toothpicks so I wouldn't fall asleep and drop him on the floor.  By this time we had a "loaner" TV from Craig's brother with 10-inch screen.  Re-runs of Ironsides and Mod Squad (go Linc!) and The FBI were my nighttime lifeline.

That kooky sofa was part of our lives for two years, and when we moved on we passed it on.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Or so we thought.

15 years later my folks were visiting us in Oregon when Ann, our children's piano teacher, stopped by to visit.  She also happens to be Craig's 5th cousin on one of his Mormon Pioneer lines.   All of us were sitting around the kitchen table having a piece of pie, when my mom suddenly piped up, "Remember that wacky green sofa you had in Provo--the one that fell apart into a bed but was never flat enough to sleep on?"

Ann's antenna immediately unfurled as we described this chartreuse sofa that just "fell apart" into a bed, a bed that wasn't really a bed in the traditional sense, given the center crevasse that swallowed up the occupant.  We could hardly get the words out we were laughing so much.  And then Ann announced that she and Brian had been the previous owners of that very sofa!

The Twilight Zone music played in the background as Ann exclaimed that there couldn't possibly be two sofas like that on the same planet!  This "heirloom" had belonged to her aunt who passed it on to them.  She had nursed their babies sitting on it, studied on it, and watched TV from its vantage point, just as we had.  When they moved away from Provo, they donated the sofa to Deseret Industries.  Some months later we came along and bought it.  Yeah, we unknowingly kept it in the family.  What are the odds? 


  1. This was so reminiscent of my own young married years. We didn't have a TV either although at the time we didn't miss one at all. I remember at some point though my father-in-law asked J what sports he'd been watching lately and J admitted we didn't have at TV. My father in law showed up that weekend with a new TV. We never did watch any sports on it but I did watch reruns of the x-files while nursing my new little guy sitting on a cast off brown couch we had that had been part of a sectional at one point so it only had one arm. We had that couch forever :) That is so funny that you were able to find out the history on that sofa "bed". I wonder where it ended up next!

  2. I know, we didn't have time to watch TV while students, but it sure came in handy to have the tiny borrowed one for those long nights w/ baby.

    Wow, a brand new TV, you scored big time!