As soon as the couch was gone, I wanted it back.
Two weeks ago I found out I needed to move, which is going to happen next month to another place in Powhatan. As I started making plans, getting boxes, and looking around at my space, I shuddered at the thought of moving it all again. Since I have a few weeks grace, I decided to make some hard choices about what I would keep, try to sell, or just throw away.
The first to go was the couch. I should preface this by saying I wasn’t being wasteful by deciding to throw away my couch. For the last few years, I have hidden the spots where the couch had gotten decidedly worn through with a quilt. When I made the move out to Powhatan last May, I promised myself it was the last time I would move it.
My mom purchased this couch in 1993 for our home in Texas and it was on the moving truck when I made the jump to North Carolina for my first job as a professional reporter. It was a great couch that gave a good night’s sleep to quite a few people through the years. When my Nana would come over and stay the night – say on Christmas Eve so she could watch us open our gifts the next morning – she would sleep comfortably on that couch.
When it came East with me, it was a place to sit while I read, eat a meal as I watched TV, worked on a craft project, talked on the phone, waffle about what I wanted to do next, or take a nap. It was so long that at 5’8” I never had to curl up to fit my frame on it and so comfortable I didn’t want to wake up. Man did I take some good naps on that couch.
So while it was satisfying (if not easy because dang that sucker was long) to cut the cord and decide to throw it away, later that night, when I finished work and packing a few boxes, you know where I wanted to go? Yup, that stupid couch.
If I have a tendency to develop an emotional attachment to inanimate objects, I come by it honestly. My mom has way too many paintings, pieces of furniture, and other things that were passed down or given to her and that she associates with certain people.
I don’t do that to the same extent, but there are some things that there is never a question about when it comes to deciding what stays or goes.
There is the 1929 pressed back rocking chair my late dad gave to my mom shortly after they were married. It is actually not the most comfortable piece of furniture but is, nonetheless, now sitting where my couch used to be. I have a curio cabinet he gave her around the same time. I haven’t quite figured out what I want to really use it to display, but it is here to stay.
I have a beautiful cedar chest that belonged to my Mamaw and which was refinished by my stepdad. I also have several paintings done by Mamaw for me and other people that I now own, and I love every one of them.
My great-grandfather on my mom’s side made a little cabinet to hold her Barbie dolls and their clothes. Knowing how special that tiny cabinet is to Mom, I painted it several years ago to suit my tastes and use it as a makeshift jewelry box. So now it is a little bit her and a little bit me.
For all of this talk about things I won’t let go, I am finding I am surprisingly willing to be ruthless about some other things. As I speak, the kitchen table that only ever seems to accumulate junk and the coffee table that is pretty much the same are marked for a garage sale.
I like the mix. I like having items with a personal history in my family, items I am proud to have found myself and added to my collection, and the ability to discern when something is neither and can be let go.
Now if I could only get the latter to apply to going through my collections of quilting fabric and books, all of which seem to find themselves in the keep pile.
Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.