Friday, October 20, 2017


Now that the weather is cooling a bit, with sunny skies beaming down onto the leafpiles (ours still merely an unaccustomed-for-this-time-in-October BROWN, like all the Autumns of my life, until we moved here twenty-seven years ago), we’re enjoying putting out a cozy thing or two---a soft throw across a chair back, the “cold-weather pillows” in burgundy and deep greens, with needlepointed teacups and other things comfy and warm.

And, with the ushering in of the cooler season, I’m remembering the HOT days of my Southern past, as well---especially those gosh-awful clear shrouds of heavy plastic made-to-fit for the “good” furniture in living room and den.  Remember those unspeakably uncomfortable, complain-when-you-moved, stick-to-your-bare-legs monstrosities which were the pride of every household with a “living room suit”?   Those lovingly-guarded, hard-won sets with the immaculate gold upholstery were more tenaciously defended with their prophylactical plastic than any furniture in history---even that in the never-used, daylight-forbidden parlors of Victorian households.   At least there, the distance between bee-hind and brocade was mere clothing, but that PLASTIC---oh, my.   What conniving, evil minds thought up THAT stuff? 

Related image

Some of it was a little bit subdued---a translucent softer kind of plastic instead of that noisy stuff that gave the couch the gleam of a well-loved Camaro, but STILL.

Related image

I can remember sliding off Aunt Lo’s clear-covered sofa (and glad to be free of it) after I’d wiggled and crinkled and made all sorts of effort to keep my velvet Christmas dress demurely down, and my abrupt descent beneath the coffee-table in a flurry of red petticoats was a story repeated every year by and to all the older generation.   And even when I was grown up and attending a shower or tea party, or even a morning “Coke party” with dainty tunafish sandwiches cut with Karla Kay’s Mama’s bridge-set cutters, and frilly crocheted panties on the icy Coke bottles---still we fidgeted in the Summer stillness and tried to keep decorum as we struggled to stay in one spot.

Image result for Joan Crawford living room photos
Miss Joan Crawford, 1973.  Look at the shine on that chair and sofa, and imagine how many famous bottoms struggled to keep their balance, whilst balancing cocktail, conversation and cigarette.

The next one could be any one of my three Memphis Aunts, this anonymous woman of the Internet, sitting with one steadying foot on the floor in her pretty pink boucle, and making all sorts of creaks and crackles as she leans toward the ashtray.  I try to think back to who DIDN’T have these---we didn’t, but then there was that pesky brown naugahyde, which is a whole nother story.  And there we also those who, after putting a “slipcover” on the precious upholstery, would THEN cover the whole thing with Dupont’s finest, shielding the $3.95 rayon with the $14.95 plastic, and totally hiding the expensive brocade.  And By Golly Gosh---are those drapes and sheers covered in their own shower-curtain-liners as well?

Image result for vintage photos of Plastic furniture covers

And this one---this is a doozy---where in the Blue Heck did they GET that thing, perfectly fitted and tailored, and are there immaculate little holes in just the right spots for those little spindles?   Didn’t you always wonder who they were saving them FOR?  

Image result for vintage photos of Plastic furniture covers
Wish Y’all could come sit a  while on MY sofa so we could have a good long chat---some kinda contretemps betwixt Google and Blogger lets me sign IN enough to post a blog post, and recognizes me when I write a comment on YOUR blogs, but the words then just disappear when I hit POST and never show up.   I’m sorry to be incommunicado, but I’m still reading, still enjoying, though I can’t get through to say Hello.


Caro said...

Right up there with the clear vinyl panties for the furniture were the clear vinyl "Walk Here" runners. They were laid out in a Shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line method. I remember attending an at home wedding and not knowing where to stand because everyone was already standing on the runners and should I or should I not stand on the bare carpet?(Definitely wasn't going to try and sit on the covered sofa!!!)

Sylvia said...

I never put plastic or anything else to cover my furniture but I can remember my sister did.
I do put a huge towel on my sofa now so the dog and cat doesn't get hair on it.

Kathy said...

We never had the plastic covers in our home but some of my friends and relatives did. Oh how I hated those things. Especially in the summer when your bare legs stuck to them.

Sandi said...

Hahahaha! I remember these!

There’s an episode of the 90’s show “The Nanny” where Fran’s mother asks her to Windex the couch.

NanaDiana said...

When I first started dating my husband he had a red convertible with those plastic covers on the upholstery. Talk about uncomfortable on a hot day and cold as the devil's heart on a winter day.
Loved this post.
Hope you have a great weekend. There must be something in your settings that just needs adjusting, Rachel, so that you can comment. You can probably google the solution to fix it. xoDiana

BeachGypsy said...

I LOVE THIS POST! I hadn't thought of those stiff crackly PLASTIC THINGS in years........LOL!! We didn't have them but I saw plenty of them at relatives and neighbors and friends houses. I never had an explanation for those hideous things except that maybe just maybe folks worked so hard and so long to be able to get nice "new" stuff like pretty furniture and appliances and carpets and such--maybe they just were petrified to get them dirty or torn!? I also think they had it in their mind that "when compny comes" they would remove the plastic covers---and they just always forgot or whatever. And oh yes---I sure remember those clear rug runners...I actually saw some of those recently somewhere! HAPPY HAPPY WEEKEND!

donna baker said...

Well hello dear. I do remember plastic on furniture, but never knew anyone except MIL with plastic lampshades. Unbelievable. Imagine Versaille encased in plastic.

Patsy said...

My dad got a new car we went to show it off at
dads brothers home. We were there all afternoon.
When we got in the car to go home. the plastic
covered seats had burn spots from the lighter
all over the front set. Mother always said our
aunt did it. Years later as we were all grown
and mother had passed away. My brother and I were talking
old times and I said remember what aunt Batty did to
our new car , you were just a little thing I guess
4 or 5 years old. He is 65 now and he said aunt Betty
did not do that I DID IT ---I said O--No Mike Mother
never cared for Aunt Betty after that.

Chronica Domus said...

This post really did give me a good laugh racheld, thank you. And, it resurrected memories of visiting a relatives house which had those plastic covered sofas and chairs AND plastic runners on carpets just to be on the safe side. Curtain plastic, however, well that's a new one on me. How dreadful!

Also, I'm sorry you are having issues with posting comments. How about typing out your comment and copying it before you post (in case it gets lost). That way you can try, try again. Also, perhaps you'd want to consider logging in as "anonymous" and then signing your comment racheld at the end? Just a few thoughts to ease your frustration with leaving comments. Good luck!

ines jo said...

Your blog is very impressive…. bloom tattoos

Kim S. said...

Those awful slipcovers. I had a dear friend whose mother had them on all the furniture in the living room. They were horrible – hot or cold, uncomfortable and the NOISES they made! And “prophylactical plastic” is hilarious. Right up there with your timeless “preposterone”!

I loved this post – it brought back a lot of memories. And WHY would Joan Crawford need those on her furniture? She could afford to replace it once a year.