The Couch That Sailed the Ocean Blue


Looks like a common, ordinary couch, doesn’t it?  In fact, maybe a little less than ordinary.  If our couch were a person, you’d probably call it down-on-its-luck, down and out, underprivileged.  It has seen better days.

But there’s more to our couch than meets the eye.  With our intrepid children always at the helm, it has sailed on the high seas, thundered down railroad tracks loaded with dangerous cargo, and carried busloads of happy schoolchildren safely home.  It has raced in Nascar, the Indianapolis 500, and in rallies down steep mountain roads. benjamin-on-couch-blog.jpg Its cushions have been transformed into forts to protect our home from the forces of evil and have become nests for tired little baby birds and homes for faithful Teddy Bears.  Our couch has flown in the clouds as an airliner and through the starry night as a magic carpet.  This couch has been places.

If you looked through our family photographs, you’d notice that this couch shows up in a lot of them.  It’s where my husband and I loved to read and where we’d curl up with our children to nurture their love of reading.  It’s where beloved friends and family sat when they visited, including many who have now passed away.  It’s also the scene of a bit of cherished family lore involving a eight-inch long skink that crawled up my arm while we were watching a movie.  Legend has it that I leapt, in a single bound, over the back of the couch. 

I bought it, when my now college-age children were babies, at a yard sale in an upscale North Raleigh neighborhood.  The lady of the house saw me looking longingly at it and came over. 

“You know, that couch cost me $1800.00.  And it has stayed in my living room and never, ever been touched by my children.” 

I smiled at her and thought, That’s gonna change real soon.


And it did.  My children have touched just about every square inch of that couch at one time or another.  And they have traveled many, many miles on it in the oceans, roads, and skies of their infinite imaginations. 

I have a confession to make:  I was thinking of throwing it out, of sending it to the Great Living Room in the Sky. (It’s too shabby to give to Goodwill.)  So, why was I thinking of saying goodbye to such a faithful old friend?  Well, for one thing, when company comes, I have to try to steer them to other seats.  Because once you sit down, you sink to such depths that you wonder if you’ll ever be able to rise again.  It’s a little embarrassing.  And for another, it just looks so bedraggled.  Tom has rebuilt it twice, but it is getting beyond help. 

But when I told my son Benjamin, he was beside himself.  “I love that couch.  You can’t throw it away.  I love that more than anything we own.”

I was incredulous.  “More than the pie safe?  More than the china cabinet?”  Both treasured family heirlooms. 

“Yes, more than those.  Please don’t get rid of it!”

So, thanks to Benjamin, our couch is here to stay.  At least until he gets out of college.  Then, it will sit in his very first apartment. He’ll curl up on it, in his favorite corner spot, where it sags just right for nesting.  I can see him there now, reading, playing guitar, or dozing.  Dozing—as he dreams of the days when couches could fly through starry skies, could hurtle down curvy mountain roads, and could take you anywhere you dreamed of going.


15 Responses to “The Couch That Sailed the Ocean Blue”

  1. June Says:

    This was a great “ode”. You really captured its history and gave it life. I loved hearing all the memories it holds for your family and am really glad you honored Benjamin’s need to feel its comfort.

  2. bluemountainmama Says:

    wonderful post! glad to hear the historical couch will find a new owner in the same family……

  3. wesleyjeanne Says:

    What a great post! Very well-written. And I love the illustrative photos, especially the one of Ariel in her “smart” glasses.

  4. marion Says:

    Just lovely. Beautifully written.

  5. Shannon Hodgins Says:

    What an amazing post! I love it! My kids currently love playing “king of the mountain” when we pile our cushions up in a huge heap in the center, and love “forts” with blankets and such.

    Mine are sooooo grungy, sun faded and a little crusty in places. I still love the couch and would love to maybe recover them to keep the love going. I don’t think I can get rid of them quite yet. They are where I slept when tired and pregnant, where I nursed my babies all snuggled up in front of a fire, where my kids play. The set is actually the first thing that we bought as a couple too……kinda attached! Shannon

  6. Sara Says:

    Great post!
    Isn’t it amazing how our kids perceive things? They are very sensitive to to ordinary and mundane, overlooked things that we take for granted. They love some of the things that speak to them of childhood, traditions, and home. Sometimes it’s humbling to learn what has meaning for them.

  7. CountryDew Says:

    Wonderful. I guess restuffing and recovering is out of the question? Memories are great things and you did your family proud writing this down.

  8. colleen Says:

    Home is where you hang your hat and where you sit and read storybooks to your children. My kids had more fun with our couches than any toy we could have bought them. The cushions were like big soft building blocks.

    I once wrote my life through a history of my couches. I’ve had a few. One I even still dream about.

    Yours is pretty.

  9. marion Says:

    Thanks for your concern about my having shingles. Thank heavens I went right to the doctor (excruciating pain circling my waist on the right side that OTC meds didn’t touch) as they were able to put me on the shingles’ med on the 3rd day. If I’d waited longer, they couldn’t have prescribed it in time. It shortens the time and hopefully cuts down on the blisters/itching and spread of the ailment.
    I’m taking full advantage of doctor’s orders since this CAN get worse if I do too much. Hubby is off right now grocery shopping, picking up a book for me at the library (Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) etc. He had lectured me about staying home, staying off my feet, taking naps, etc. Then he said: Oh, BTW, we need milk, eggs, and sodas. Were you going to the store today? … I handed him the list, with a big smile, as the realization hit him that HE would have to do these things.

  10. Susan Says:

    What a great post – ‘ode to the couch’! It kinda reminds me of my driveway post a few weeks ago.

    I have been cleaning out and taking to goodwill for the past week, sneaking stuff out so the hubby won’t see it (he is the packrat in the family). But you have found a good reason to hang on to this couch, and I am sure your son will love having it when he gets his own place.

    To answer the question you left on my blog – Truett Cathy will be the guest speaker, and I will post about him soon!

  11. benjamin (aka guitarmaniac) Says:

    ya know, there’s room right now in my massive corner room (about 100 sq. ft of pacing room, to be exact). The only concern I have is for moving it with the Volvo and getting it around those corners of the stairwell.

  12. Thanksgiving « Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

    […] Tom (my husband) was reading in his recliner; Ariel and Benjamin (my children) were talking and laughing together on the couch, with Benjamin noodling around on his guitar.  I was standing at the kitchen window, looking out […]

  13. Secrets « Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

    […] Okay, I know you’re probably reading eagerly now, thinking I’m going to tell you one of our secrets.  And you’re right, though the photograph above probably already gave me away.  But, in case it didn’t, here goes:  We have upwards of eighteen books hidden amidst the dustballs under our couch.   […]

  14. Rory Bichel Says:

    A roommate urged me to check out this website, brill post, interesting read… keep up the cool work!

  15. Byron Black Says:

    Very charming visit to your place. I was reminded of all the laughs I got from , a noble effort begun by a certain company to honor an employee who had recently died from cancer.

    Some of the shots are doozies. You could not imagine sleeping in the same house with an ugly like that lurking in your den, or parlor.

    Couches are cool anyway. Problem is, the gorgeous stylish ones are customarily the least comfortable. The opposite does not hold true, however.

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