Don’t worry, this is not going to be some kinky “tell-all.” But you know when you can’t put something off any longer? That’s how we felt about buying a new bed. After twenty years, the old one was so lumpy and beaten-up, I’m surprised it didn’t leave on its own. We finally roused ourselves and went to the local super-store.
First, we tried each mattress in this 500-bed showroom. Some were too hard, others too soft. We finally found the right one. Ahh, I thought, enjoying its welcoming feel, I could see myself slipping into this at the end of each day.
After making our selection, we sat at the salesman’s desk to settle up. As he and my husband Randy wrangled over pricing and rebates, that’s when I had a strange thought. Damn, we’ll be up there when we buy our next bed.
I sat, doing the math. We’ve been married 36 years with two beds. That means each lasted an average of 18 years. We’re now (more or less) 60. We’ll be in our late 70’s (almost 80) for the next one. Gulp.
Time flies. And that’s when I saw how each of our beds had its own era.
Our first sleeper set the tone for all to come. Randy’s Texan father George bought it as a wedding gift. Of course, like everything in Texas, bigger is better. This sleeper was no exception – huge and king-size, actually two extra-long twins pushed together. Needless to say, my 6’5” husband was ecstatic.
We were in our twenties and in heaven. Who could resist this luxurious expanse, this soft surface built for fun and comfort?
That first mattress saw the friskiness of young marriage and dinners of take-out Chinese spent lounging around, watching “Taxi” on the bedroom TV.
Over the years there were times when we went to bed happy — a long-sought job offer came through or after a fun meal. There were also sad times like that December morning I woke to find John Lennon had been assassinated. When our new kitten Callie was killed by a car, I stayed in bed and cried for days.
When I was pregnant with each of my sons, I slept on my left side so much the mattress became permanently dented.
When I had an infant and two year-old, that bed became my refuge. I’d lie there, exhausted between feedings and playtimes, picturing the bed like Mammy from “Gone with the Wind.” “There, honey child. It’s going to be alright,” it seemed to say.
The kids grew. Randy travelled for business. Many mornings I’d wake to find our two little boys, plus the cat and dog in my bed, all touching me like spokes on a wheel.
Of course, the boys’ favorite pastime was jumping up and down on this poor mattress. It got so I didn’t climb into bed each night as much as fall into this soft pit. The day that bed left — by now battered and broken – it felt like someone should play “Taps.”
A sleeker, modern “memory-foam” followed. By now, we were in our early forties and this was the era I discovered we were “bed people.” Where other families gathered around the hearth or kitchen table, we gathered on the bed. I’m not sure why except it was soft and we could stretch out.
By the times the boys were older, we had a chair and window seat for them, but family meetings were usually conducted with Randy and I holding court on our king-size, a cat or dog always sleeping between us.
Our boys became teenagers. Instead of jumping sessions, there were bedroom talks about girls and drinking and driving. Over the years this new bed saw its own share of happy times — high school and college graduations and birthdays. There were also sad ones -– the passing of beloved parents and pets.
And now this second bed, once shiny and new, has outlived its time.
The other day a woman called to confirm our third sleeper would be delivered in a few weeks. “Will you be ready to receive it?” she asked in a cheerful voice.
I thought of how bed has always been one of my favorite spots in life, how safe and happy and warm they’ve always made me feel.
I thought of how this new one begins yet another era, not only for sleeping — but for our family. Maybe someday we’ll have grandchildren jumping on it. You never know. As time passes, no doubt this bed will have stories of its own.
“Yes,” I said to the woman. “I’m ready.”
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