Friday, November 5, 2010


I had the same bedroom furniture from the time I was a small child until I went off to college. It was a Thirties set, I think, with a thinly veneered chest of drawers and one of those BIG mirrored dressers with the low middle and two side-wings that I think you’re supposed to sit gracefully in front of, but you couldn’t get a chair close enough to do much good without bending far forward. They’re the ones those vintage “dresser sets” embroidered in windmills and demure flower-picking ladies were made for.

This looks like the bed I had---not the choice of a thirteen-year-old---it’s just to illustrate the bedposts.

The rest of my furniture was low and stocky and OLD, like the dresser above.I longed to have a room like my Aunt Cilla’s bedroom---she called it her boudoir, though she was a married woman and her dear husband also slept in that very feminine room. She was in love with what she called “Hollywood beds.” She and Uncle Jay had twin beds---the first I’d ever seen grown-ups sleep in, and their bedroom was done up in the prettiest silks and satins in pale teal and cream and even-paler peach, with a chaise and one of those dainty wicker trays for breakfast in bed.

And Aunt Cilla, ever my champion and dear friend, wanted me to have that, too. She was also my defender when my longing for that low bed with the spread smooth off the foot clear to the floor caused me to lose my senses and cut the foot-end posts---big round cannonball things---off my bed. I just went and got a saw one day and had at it, leveling them nicely to the edge of the footboard; a quick re-make of the bed to smooth the bedspread over sides and foot, and there was as close as I could come to that boudoir perfection. And it was beautiful. It also made my room look much bigger without those big old posts sticking up right out there in the middle of the room. I think I remember it echoed.
It was ever-so-much nicer with the spread falling all the way across to the floor, like this one.

So, Aunt C. thought that MY bed would profit from a little bit of a makeover, as well, after all that row about the disfiguring of the furniture, and all. After all the shouting and the huffing was over, Aunt Cilla, knowing my girlie-girl propensities, gave me a pink satin comforter---double size, with lovely quilting in scrolls and peacock-tails all over. It was probably the most luxurious item I’d ever owned, and I couldn’t stand to tell her I could NOT use it—at least not as meant. I turned it pretty-side down every night, for I was a little bit afraid to sleep beneath the beautiful thing.

It was the palest of pink shiny satins, so beautifully done and so soft and well-made, with a soft white almost-flannel back-side, and that’s the one I flipped it to to sleep. I turned it over every night of my life, to what I thought of as the “dull side up,” because I’d seen a movie which frightened me out of my wits because the lady slept under a comforter JUST LIKE MINE.

That Mummy’s Ghost had shuffled right in those French doors, casting the gleam of moonlight onto that shining comforter, picked her up in a sound sleep, and shuffled right back out to the tomb with her, with late-night leaves blowing against his leg-wrappings.
All photos from the Internet
Kept ME right the heck awake, I can tell you.

And so, every night I whipped off the coverlet, turned it shiny-side down, and I slept soundly in my sawn-down bed, safe from Klaris and all his cronies-in-gauze. I re-made the bed in the morning, perfect in pink, so my Mother wouldn't ask questions.

And I wonder what a “vintage” collector would think of that missing-post bed today.


Chesapeake said...

So the nightmare about the comforter was the payment for the bed-posts? Would never have thought you would SAW OFF those posts!

So funny, and like you, dear Rachel.

Tonja said...

Yes, I can see you just cutting them off. Really. How long are we expected to sit and stare at something that is just not right? And, the only thing to to just do it. And, you did...good for you!
But, funny turning the comforter over every night! Must have been some movie!

Southern Lady said...

Rachel, I loved this story and the one about your mouton. I was visiting my mother Saturday and told her about them and just HAD to get on her computer and read them to her. She enjoyed them, too, and loves the way you write. Chris's ham looks so mouth-watering delicious, and makes me wish we had a Weber. Don't tell Chris, but our grill is GAS ...