Monday, April 21, 2014

Go Sit by the Sofa, and I'll Take a Picture

The vintage photo series returns, this week with photos of my family on/near sofas. I won't keep you in suspense, here's the plastic covered sofas of my youth.
I'm the wee one sitting on my sister's lap. I have no idea who the other two girls are.

Wait, I can hear my mother screaming, "Count!" from the other room. A town house is no place for children's piano lessons as there's nowhere to hide.
The problem with that plastic covering was that it eventually cracked, and left discoloured streaks on the white silk they were trying to protect. It was OK to sit on most of the year, but come summer you'd sit on that thing wearing shorts and stick to it. I like this photo of my dad looking at the coloured vinyl record like, "What will these kids come up with next?!"
Here's a photo of my cousin (left) and my sister on a plastic covered sofa that I think was at Gran's. It wasn't ours anyway, and my aunt had blue crushed velvet sofas that no one was permitted to sit on-so it wasn't their house. Poor Andi, I can't believe they dressed the poor girl like that.
There's a sofa in the back with my mum perched on the edge of it. It looks like a birthday party (hats, party dresses etc.) and it looks like our front room, but damn if I recognise that television. I barely recognise my mother. My Aunt isn't looking her best sitting on the floor either. At any rate, my sister and cousin don't appear to be having a very good time. There's a whiff of a John Waters movie in this photo.
I'm starting to wonder if anyone ever enjoyed themselves at a party. My cousins are flanking the woman at the centre (no idea who she is) and my gran is in yellow at the right. I have no clue who the other people are, but that is our front room, and I remember those two green watercolour paintings.
Now this looks like a fun birthday party. I don't know where it was taken (not our sofa) but I'm in the centre (pink tights)and smiling, presumably because I'm not at home!
Mt two grandmothers sitting side-by-side and making an attempt at smiling for a photo. They despised each other. Despised is being generous. This would have been about 1977-78.
But all plastic covered sofas eventually need recovering, and by the 70's, my mother found she liked gold toned tapestry. This too must have been a birthday photo as there's a balloon at the top of the frame. I have no idea what the hell I'm wearing, but my birthday is in February so I don't know what she was thinking with the white pants. I think I'm "posing" but it might just be the angle of the photo and my messed-up spine (which was more noticeable when I was young). I'm not sure what became of the lamp, but I have the table beneath it. Each time we move house my husband wants to get rid of it, and each time we later admit it was a good thing we kept it. Ugly as can be, but that table is the most practical piece of furniture in our house (it has storage beneath).
Finally, three women who are relatives through various marriages, and were all adored (because they weren't as crazy as the rest of us!). On the left is my Aunt's (mother's sister) mother in law. She was a lovely woman who always had candy and half dollars in her handbag for the children. I was always envious that my cousins got a normal grandmother. The Woman in the centre was Aunt Chevy, who could knit whilst talking to you, and never look down at her work. She was incredible. She tried to talk my father out of marrying into the family warning him that they were all, "Nuts", but it fell on deaf ears. Years later, he admitted she knew what she was talking about. On the right is Aunt Sadie, who was  a wealthy old widow that sent beautiful presents (I still use and enjoy a pair of Lucite bookends she sent when I was 13). Everyone said she was cranky, but I guess that just endeared her to me. I wish she'd given me that handbag sitting on her lap! She looks displeased to be sitting amongst the rabble. I believe this was my sister's wedding shower so maybe 1980? I can't remember.

I'm sure I'll find more sofa photos after this is posted, but I hope you enjoyed a plastic covered trip down sofa memory lane. One more for good measure-a rare photo of my sister looking happy (mother must have been out doing the shopping):


Northern mum down South said...

I love your old photos. Where I lived there was also the plastic strip covering the hallway carpet from all the excessive wear and tear. Great look with the plastic covered sofas.

pastcaring said...

I am in love with your bonkers family and assorted odd unknown people! (Of course I know that other people crazy is always more picturesque than one's own...) Yes, I have taken a shine to Aunt Sadie's handbag too (those 1950s box bags are so gorgeous), and while I am familiar with the plastic strips over carpet (see Jayne's comment), I had no idea anyone covered their sofas in plastic.
"The whiff of John Waters" - was ever a phrase more redolent with inference? You clever. Cute as a wee thing too. Pageboy haircut and all.
The Nanas are scaring me from here.
Brilliant. xxxx

Connie said...

I just love love love these photos! Soooo cute with your ethnic top and groovy white pants! And I love the stories behind them. John Waters. That's perfect. What does Danny think of these photos? When I show my old photos to my kids they just cringe to think that their mother (moi) looked just like Opie of Mayberry. That's right. I looked like a little boy. Now I have transitioned to grumpy old man.

Goody said...


Danny tried picking me out of some old class photos and kept getting the same girl (not me) in each year. He's interested because he never knew any of these people ("are any of these people NOT dead?!"), so putting faces to the stories is fun for him. As for the silly clothes, I'm still wearing the 70's!

Looking back, the boys did have longer hair, and the girls were wearing pixies so it wouldn't be hard to mix up the genders. If you're going to be a grumpy old man, go for E.B. White so you can complain about punctuation. You don't look like an old man, for what it is worth.

Danny's given up correcting people when he's mistaken for a girl, which is most of the time thanks to his, "Rock Star Hair"(his phrase, not mine). Thankfully he's indifferent to most of the macho crap boys around here seem to project, though he's huge for his age which tends to discourage kids picking fights with him.

The only photo that really seemed to upset Danny was seeing me with some BIG 80's hair, but then nothing could really prepare him for that.

Sue said...

Oh how you make me laugh!!! What was with the plastic covered couches??!! My parents were strict on no feet on the furniture, so now I am like, put your feet up, get comfy, its a bloody couch for gods sake!! Brilliant photos of you and yours, I get the bonkers family part, mine isn't exactly normal. It was until my dad passed away and now some of them are just plain farkin nuts!! But not me, hahahaha!

Jessica Cangiano said...

Very cool theme to have as common thread running through a series of vintage photos. Seeing all of these instantly reminded me of many a (usually posed) snapshot that my mother took of my siblings and I, and sometimes guests of all ages that my family had over, on the couch when I was growing up. Two such images stand out for me in particular, both hailing from different Christmases (one was of me holding my baby sister with my little brother beside, all decked out in our Xmas finery, when I was six; the other is of me sitting with a beloved elderly neighbour named Flo, a few years later when I was 10 or 11).

Thank you for the enjoy, nostalgia filled walk down memory lane.

♥ Jessica