PV Headshot Jean Shriver.JPG

Way back in 1961, I had a new house and two little children with a third on the way.

The Connecticut home we had just purchased was bigger than the lovely Cape Cod where we'd started our family. Two bedrooms were just not enough for five people. So now we were spreading our bits of furniture around the much larger rooms of the new house ... and it all looked, well, somewhat sparse.

One day, my generous father showed up with a lovely sofa which he claimed he'd bought second hand for twenty five dollars.

The price was right. Though how could you get a sofa with six down cushions for so little money?

I suspect he was fibbing, but my checkbook told me not to argue.

We put the gray velvet sofa right under the front window. The kids loved to climb on it, loved peering out to see who was coming to visit.

Our son and daughter, age two and three, jumped up and down on it. They cried and wiped their noses on the soft fabric. They fell and bled on the puffy cushions. I only hope they didn't pee on it.

I'm happy to report that gray velvet is a remarkably forgiving fabric.

Eventually we moved to California, bringing that sofa with us. But gray velvet didn't fit the California aesthetic.

Everything here seemed to be a bright green or yellow and our sofa got covered in a splashy print of those same colors. It sat in the living room, a more protected spot than in the last house, but as we and our friends were all drinkers and smokers, the sofa had to cope with adult delinquents now.

After a few years, it occurred to us that maybe it was time to look for a new sofa. And we did.

But we never found one we liked as well as sturdy Old Faithful which we have now recovered ten times.

We moved to a new house in Lunada Bay and The Sofa got pride of place in our new living room.

It had a coffee table in front of it on which sat an antique chess set. This meant my husband and assorted teenagers were often sitting on Old Faithful, dropping cracker crumbs and spilling Coke as they concentrated on protecting their king or bishop.

God forbid we ever covered our old friend in a solid color. A beige sofa wouldn't last a month.

A few years ago I broke my pelvis. Because, I couldn't climb the stairs to our bedroom. I spent six weeks happily lounging on my cushioned friend.

My youngest son, when he visits, prefers taking a pillow and a quilt to The Sofa, rather than settling down in the upstairs guest room.

We have a portable TV on the coffee table in front of The Sofa, so we can watch the news and then stow it when company comes. Company, needless to say, usually makes a beeline for The Sofa.

Recently, I was having my bedroom fumigated (don't ask) and went into the guest room to sleep. Ouch! The bed in there was way too hard for my sciatica, or whatever it is that keeps old ladies awake at night.

After a few sleepless hours, I drifted downstairs toting a pillow and a quilt.

My friend gave me five nights of uninterrupted sleep.

Old Faithful has been in our family for 58 years. Is that a record or what?

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