Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 5, 2019
The old family couch was much more than a place to sit

It was a big comfy couch.

The couch in the photographs that accompany this column became a part of our family somewhere around 1961. That is the year stamped on the first photograph that I found.

Depending on what month it arrived, I would have been 3 or 4 years old.

I can vaguely remember being excited to get a new couch. Not that there was anything wrong with the old one that I can remember. It’s just that when you are three, anything new, especially something as big as a couch, is a big deal. And it turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime event — if you don’t count the new couch in my step-father’s new house. Our old couch was there too.

In the first photo, the three kids sitting on the couch are my brother, sister and me. I’m the one in the middle. My sister, to my left, is with her dolls and she is holding her Humpty Dumpty pillow that also had a secret pocket to hold her pajamas.

My brother, to my right, is holding his teddy bear and his Jerry ventriloquist doll. 

Our babysitter, who lived across the street, probably hadn’t made my teddy bear yet, or I would have been holding him.

I remember that couch. The back was slanted. When it was pushed against the wall there was just enough room from me to crawl behind and hide. Perfect spot for indoor hide-and-seek.

It was also my “safe place.” Once a year when our family would gather in the living room to watch the annual broadcast of “Wizard of Oz,” I would lay on one seat cushion and use the other cushions and pillows to make a little fort. Every time the big, bad and scary wicked witch came on the screen. I would duck into my fort for safety. She was scary!

I remember my mom letting me sleep all night on the couch by myself a few times. I never, well until now, admitted that the strange sounds and shadows kept me awake all night.

I remember stretching a blanket over the couch to make a tent, although I can’t remember what I did in the tent. I’m sure I jumped up and down on it like a trampoline, more than once. But don’t tell my mother, please.

When we moved from Shelton, Washington, to Lacey,Washington, the couch came with us. 

We sat on it a lot. So much that my mother had to have it reupholstered. It was recovered with a thick, bristly, brown fabric that I didn’t like.

For awhile the couch became my mother’s bedroom. We only had three bedrooms in the house. My mom sacrificed her room, and her bed, so we could each have our own rooms.

When the couch was reupholstered it got new seat cushions. We kept the old ones. We used them for sitting on the floor or for doing somersaults.

That couch followed my mom to five more houses and apartments.

At one home it ended up in the upstairs loft where my step-sister slept. By the time I graduated from college and moved back in with my mother while looking for a job, my step-sister had moved out. I got the loft and it was my turn to use the couch as my bed.

The last home for the couch, before it was hauled away to its final resting place, was in my mother’s room in a retirement apartment complex.

That couch lasted for around 50 years. It survived three kids and seven homes.

It was a fun place to hang out. I ate dinner on a TV tray while sitting on that couch many times. I recuperated from illnesses and took short naps on it, which gave me energy to survive the rest of a long day.

Somedays I long for that old couch. Like a well worn pair of shoes or jeans, it felt felt like it fit just right.

It had a few cat scratches. One of the back cushions had a permanent indent from where one of our cats used to perch.

Things have changed. I’ve been married for 31 years and we’re on our third couch now. 

Either they don’t make them like they used to, or we wear them out faster now days — or maybe today we just like to make changes more. Once every 50 years is a slow pace for progress.


Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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