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IDYLLOPUS PRESS : BIG SOFA : Museum : Living Room : sofa vitals

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vital statistics of the bigsofa

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Vital Statistics of the Sofa of Bigsofa


BIGSOFA is the Castro Convertible of Sofas. You could put wheels on it and ride down the street in style. The Merkaba of Merkabas. The Gold Chariot of the Sofa Kings. It is the relic of a time when the crowning glory of consumption was a Bad Couch and the altar upon which you placed your offerings to the evidence of your Sunday casino success was the coffee table. During the mundane week the Bad couch vestibule was off-limits. One dared not step foot on the carpet of the immaculates. Only on the day deity rested was one allowed to come near to the high holiness of bad couch, and then only if there were visitors, and not just any visitors, but visitors appropriately attired to command a seat in the Waiting Room of Oz which aspired to look like a Las Vegas Restroom.


Probably about the time BIGSOFA disappeared (yes, poof, one day in the middle of the damned 70's it was gone and there in its place in the less high holy vestibule was a black imitation-leather couch with real chrome accents) we (Idyllopus and spouse) began to pay our sofa dues.

Sofa #1

There was this church that had a downtown location but had purchased much non-downtown land so it could become a suburban country club church. On that land was a building that resembled an overgrown country outhouse and was the church youth center until it was torn down and construction was begun on the BIG church which came with a BIG church youth center. Spouse and I were very young newlyweds, and very impoverished. Spouse had a familial link to said church. When the youth center was torn down, everything in it was to be thrown away, and we nabbed the couch on its way to the dump. It was a dark green vinyl beast from the 50's. One of those "institutional" kind of couches that in the 50's was respectable enough to live in a doctor's waiting room, but during the 60's and 70's was more properly found in the neurology clinic waiting room of a state-run hospital. Anyway, though the couch has a funky look to it in old photos, it was all springs with no cushioning left, was extremely uncomfortable, and if there's anything more unpleasant than sweaty summer skin sticking to vinyl it's sweaty summer skin sticking to torn vinyl. The couch was with us through three moves over two years until we moved into a furnished garage apartment owned by a college professor and his wife. We called the Salvation Army and offered them our couch which we would likely have continued to use for a lot longer if we hadn't had to get rid of our furnishings (which was no big loss as we had no furnishings except for the sofa, a rickety folding card table and some version of a bed) and the Salvation Army came and saw the couch and left. They said they couldn't use it. I hadn't expected this.

go see the green sofa

This is a button link to see a photo of that first couch.

As for the professor's garage apartment couch, it was a sensible brown and green plaid. We used to have a picture, I think. I don't know where it is.

Sofa #2

Our second sofa (a love seat actually) came to us via long-since-estranged relations who had planned to donate it to the Salvation Army (we couldn't afford Salvation Army sofas then and still can't). It had rust-orange, yellow and blue flowers in spewing artless arrangements as big as your head which looked like they were transplanted from a Highway 400 Carpet Warehouse factory-second. (I do really keep picturing something like the headless horseman of Halloween driving his horse through the rainy night, black cape flapping about him, and rather than having a pumpkin on his shoulders there are those big rust-range, yellow and blue flowers.) It was one of those plump sofas, the fabric of which would have looked like it was straining at its threads to keep from bursting if it hadn't been sagging. We were on the road a lot, never home much in those days, and consequently we weren't much bothered by this sofa. However, after we had moved again, and then again, we did become violently sick of this sofa, and somehow ended up leaving it with Spouse's parents, in their basement which was stuffed full of unusable junk. They don't like to throw out anything, so they couldn't bring themselves to throw out the sofa, nor could they convince themselves we might not want it one day. They kept it in the basement for over ten years and once a year would bring it up and ask us when we would want the sofa back because they wanted to start clearing out the basement and they didn't want it. Finally, they realized we were serious about not wanting this sofa, and thankfully the sofa is no longer anywhere in evidence--gone, gone, gone. Their basement is now so stuffed that you can't walk through it.

go see the flowered sofa

Click here to look at the flowered sofa.

Sofa #3

Our third sofa was an old rec room green and tan plaid number and was really our second sofa. We purchased it before we acquired the plump love seat. No, correction, I traded a painting or a drawing for it (you didn't think it was a new sofa, did you). Then when the flowered love seat was tossed our direction the plaid sofa (a sofa-bed) was maneuvered by me, all by myself, up the narrow stairs to the second floor in our apartment in the "It's a Small World" complex. I don't recollect what happened to it. We must have given it to someone. Or did we? What happened to it? I could have sworn we had a picture with that sofa in it but perhaps not.

Sofa #4

Our fourth sofa was actually new, a light little burgundy love seat futon thing which we purchased, during one of our only high water years (high water to us, these things being relative, from Pseudo Denmark Furnishings. The sofa was so light and had so little support that when a heavyweight acquaintance sat on it the thing was crushed. He was mortified. I was sorry he felt bad about it because who could have guessed the little sofa could have been undone so easily. We kept it for a couple more years until it completely fell apart and was little more than a few sections of disjointed foam.

go see the camelback sofa

But boy was I proud of that sofa when it was fresh and new. Here is a link to see a picture of it.

The Not-Sofas

After that, for twelve long years (well, thirteen) we did without a sofa. We had two lawn chairs (don't turn up your nose, they were canvas and I'd painted them). Eventually, the lawn chairs fell apart quite literally beneath us.

We also had a futon but I suppose it counts as a sofa, but it was really a bed that sometimes masqueraded as a sofa.

Several years ago I had the bright idea to take the back seat from the van, which we couldn't use in the van because it hauls equipment, and put it on bricks and that way we at least had something to sit on. It was hard, it was uncomfortable, it had belt buckles, but it was someplace to put the van seat.

Enter the Big Sofa

Then, because every mini-van (no matter if it hauls equipment) must have a child, Spouse and I produced one quite unexpectedly. When that child began to make moves toward a less marsupial baby-sling existence, we determined it was time to make a stab at finding another sofa. I made mention of this to my friend Kathryn.

Two days later, Kathryn called. She had seen just the thing. This big gold thing. It was at a funky second-hand shop. It was $175. Not knowing how we could really afford $175, but aware that's about as cheap as it gets, we raced down to the second-hand shop. And there it was, our gold BIGSOFA, far exceeding anything we could have imagined at 7 feet 9 inches. I knew this was the sofa. Our son would grow up and remember playing on this huge sofa. It would be the bottom line for sofas the rest of his life. The funky second-hand shop delivered it for free as Spouse had to help move it, for BIGSOFA is also a big sofa bed and the camel that broke the back of the funky second-hand shop owner. He left swearing he would never have another sofa bed in his store. Huff-puff. But his wife had already told us this one we purchased the sofa.

And wouldn't you know it, within a few months of acquiring the BIGSOFA, well, sofas just seemed to multiply. Tim moved back to Los Angeles and gave us his futon, which we placed next to the BIGSOFA. And Spouse's parents gave us their old family room blue sofa that has no cushioning to speak of left in it but that's fine because it's purpose is to hold stuffed animals in Aaron's room and doubles as a gym. It also hides the van seat that once attempted to serve as a sofa which is now pushed against the wall behind this couch.

So, as you can see, we paid our dues. We figure BIGSOFA probably paid its dues too, somewhere, wherever it was, after it was pushed out of its honored parlor position by the black imitation-leather number that now likely serves as landfill. BIGSOFA's got some tears but came to us in excellent enough shape that we know for many long years it has wanted companionship. It's happy, we're happy, and we're pleased to share our happiness with you.

We don't know where you can find your own personal BIGSOFA, but you might want to ask Kathryn. She seems to have the knack.


You may follow this link to see the BIGSOFA itself.

Inessential Viewing

go see some childhood sofas

Click here if you're not bored with seeing sofas from the webmaster's past. You will come upon two of my childhood sofa and their histories. They aren't essential viewing but you will be able to read about how…well, I don't want to spoil the surprise.

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