The Lounge that Talks

The Lounge that Talks

Tales from our own Jacobean Era

How can anyone get motivated to do something when being held back by guilt and shame?

For the past few years, my mind has been a hornet’s nest wondering if I should dispose of a family heirloom. And every time I sat on Granny’s Jacobean, memories come flooding back from my childhood. Memories and tears. But that aging family friend had to go. My wife kept nagging. Especially after the latest shame.

I loved that lounge. It has been with me since I was a boy. It was mid-last century when my grandparents bought a Jacobean three-piece tapestry lounge made from sturdy oak. They commonly referred to the lounge and its two chairs as the ‘Jacobean’. I can assure you the Jacobean was sturdy as over the decades most of us kicked our toes on it’s protruding legs. 

When I was very young Granny would serve me dinner on a tray whilst I watched her black and white Stromberg-Carlson television. That was the best treat. With my mother in the background hollering about the wayward children of today. 

‘He needs to learn to sit at the table, Mum. He needs to use his cutlery correctly. Anyway, he shouldn’t be watching Lost in Space – it’s a dumb program.’

Granny would just reply. ‘He’s only a boy once. Let him be.’ Then Granny would remind my Mother of something wicked from her childhood and that would shut Mother up super quick.

That nostalgic Jacobean was part of many generations of our family, and, like us all, it grew old—but the memories remained. Granny passed away. Mother passed away. The Jacobean became a catalyst for yesteryear. 

‘Let me get you an antimacassar,’ Granny would tell my friends. They’d give me a confused look, thinking they were about to be served some sort of fantastical cocktail. But Granny’s antimacassars lovingly placed over the back of the chairs saved it from years of mishaps from Brylcreem, Vaseline Hair Tonic and even the ladies’ Gossamer. But time doesn’t sit still. Granny’s tradition of placing antimacassars over the backs and armrests of the Jacobean died with her. 

Once those two family stalwarts left us Jacobean started its decline. Who would bother to care for the lounge suite? I wish I had. The floral fabric, once the pride of the house, dirtied quickly from perspiration and a myriad of stains. The tapestry began a new life with the spots, splatters and smears beginning to resemble a Jackson Pollock painting. The deposits started to build on top of each other. Despite many attempts, some challenging fabric stains remained. After many a party I had to dry the cushions in the sun, I am sure my neglect in leaving them outdoors for days shortened their life expectancy. Spilled Merlot dyed in blotches, and cigarette burns never healed. Stains from my children’s mishaps accumulated, and soon those stains had their own stories. Then my grandchildren’s neglect followed them. 

‘Remember that time you…’

The Jacobean was a trove of stories. But it aged too quickly and dropped out of fashion as my wife’s love of colour changed the lounge room into something horrific. Granny’s lounge just didn’t blend, it had become an outcast in its original home. We moved it to another room for a time. Then, like a funeral march, it made its way down the stairs and under the house, where it seemed out of place with the gym equipment and bar. And my wife’s further nagging forced me to consider getting rid of it altogether. It was causing her issues every time she passed it.

I felt guilty advertising it for sale online. But it had to go. The cockroaches were building nests and feeding off the old stains. I selected a good angle to take the photograph, ensuring that the stains were not visible, and with the appropriate lighting, it appeared half decent.

There were no replies to my ad. I thought I would have received hundreds of inquiries. After all, it was vintage. Then, every so often, I’d advertise again. Sill nobody wanted it. So I left it under the house for another few years. The horrifying part is that I am now in my senior years, and it is starting to look fashionable once again.

I dragged it onto the footpath with the help of my Grandson. Who also has recent memories of his great, great grandmother’s Jacobean. My wife caught him fornicating on it. She was filled with absolute horror. I hadn’t the heart to tell her I had also used the Jacobean for similar purposes in my youth. And that she had also used the lounge for similar purposes when we were dating. In fact, I suspect we conceived our eldest son on it. At least we made love on it when it was elegant and pristine whereas my grandson used it when it was stained and tattered. ‘Disgusting behaviour,’ she said, and insisted it must go immediately—she blamed the Jacobean. I think she saw it as a magnet for mischief.

So the three piece Jacobean tapestry lounge made from sturdy oak sat on the footpath with a sign – ‘Free to a good home’. Possibly there are no good homes in my neighbourhood as it didn’t move. Even the cushions remained. Perhaps stained floral fabric is not in vogue.

Then it rained. And every time I drove into the driveway I’d see it there, curbside, deteriorating further. Torrents of guilt and shame flooded my mind. It pained me to give something away that had given our family so much pleasure. I made a decision—it wasn’t going for free.

I replaced the sign – and in big bright colours I proudly announced – ‘For Sale – $100. Inquire within.’

The next day the Jacobean was gone. Although upset I was happy I hadn’t given it away for free. Someone stole it.