Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Monday, June 16, 2008

Double Queen King

NOTE: For those reading this with children, there might be some sensitive material in this you don't want them to see. So please review this article prior to reading with your children.

Who every heard of a queen-sized or king-sized mattress/bed back in the 40s, 50s, or even the 60s. No, there were three sizes -- crib, twin, and double. The double was the size bed and headboard was all that was available to married couples who chose to sleep in the same bed. Believe it or not, many married couples did have two single beds in their bedroom. Go figure.

So, it came time for Alan and I to purchase our first mattress/frame. We weren't married yet, but he had contracted on an apartment at Rutgers in the married student apartment complex, and we were able to move in on August 1, 1966. So on that date, at 10:00 a.m. when the store opened, we went to Bellmawr Furniture (because it was the only furniture store nearby, and because we knew one of the sales persons) and blushingly -- at least on my part -- purchased a double sized mattress, springs, and frame, which we promptly put into a borrowed truck and moved that along with a very few other furnishings and some boxes and a hope chest that was full to overflowing, thanks to the generosity of friends, neighbors, and relations, to our new home in Piscataway, NJ. It was quite a day because we had spent so much money. Alan probably still has the receipt somewhere, but I think it was about $200. Once we got to the apartment, we barely had time to do anything but get the stuff unloaded and then head back to our individual homes.

The early days of our marriage -- furniture wise -- was what one could described as bare-bones. I mean one of our "seats" was in the bathroom! But I'm wandering away from the topic.

The double bed issue -- the queen bed issue -- the king-sized bed issue.

When we were in the army, we had our furniture in storage for a couple of years, and used the furniture provided by the army in our housing. That meant twin beds for everybody. We did have a crib for the babies. Becky's first bed was a drawer.

Then we moved to our first home in Fanwood, NJ, and we had five bedrooms! And it was a huge house and the rooms were big. So Alan and I were back in our familiar double bed, the girls had bunks -- pulled apart because one or the other kept falling out, and we were getting close to being called abusive parents because of the trips to the hospital because they fell out of the top bunk, and Phil was on his own in a really nice bed we pulled from the trash -- it was an old army bed -- metal.

When we moved to Cincinnati Alan thought we needed a bigger bed, so he bought a king-sized bed with a brass headboard. Up to this point we had never even had a headboard, except for my grandmother's bed, which was reserved for guests. So, in comes this huge mattress and two sets of springs and the thing upon which it would all rest. It was set up in our bedroom, and there was barely room to move around in the room.

It was nice having the room to spread out, but it was not nice to have to outfit the bed with sheets, blankets, etc. Can we say, "Expensive?" I think the first set of sheets we got cost as much as the "deal" we got on the mattress and box-springs! That bed served us well -- because it was large enough for our growing children to pile into with us on a Saturday morning -- a favorite past-time of the kids when they were growing up. And it became a custom that on Saturday morning they would wake us up that way. I wonder if they remember doing that.

Then in 1994 we had our whole bedroom/bathroom area renovated -- we pushed out the walls of the rooms and added five feet onto the one wall making the bathroom and bedroom soooo much bigger. And Alan thought it was time to get a new bed again. This time a queen sized one that cranked up and down and vibrated if you pushed the right button. And with all that added room, the new bedroom seemed huge. Well, it was, really.

So we're up to date. We still have that queen-sized bed that adjusts -- and hind site is fore site -- that has been such a blessing with him being in it so much the past 9 years. And, after our 1994 renovations, after which I finally, after almost 30 years of marriage had a bedroom I wanted to actually live in, not just sleep in, I was enjoying the evolution I had made in my thinking about beds for married couples and that, after all, size isn't what's important. Comfort is!

(Bet you thought I was going to say something else, right?)

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