About thirty-five years ago now, The Man and I went shopping. I remember it distinctly as a milestone in our marriage. We had been married for several years and by this time had four vegemiters, all welcome and all loved. Money was tight, I had given up work some years since to raise the vegemiters to school age, a decision we had made consciously and the eldest had just reached that touchstone in life.
In the pram was our youngest of the brood and she was to be the last for us and we knew it. Up until that time we had to save diligently for everything we owned or had acquired, mostly we acquired stuff from sales, relatives etc but this day we were out to purchase our third big purchase. A bed. The other two big purchases over the years had been the car and the house, now it was time for the future.
We aren’t extravagant people, in fact we were considered by some to be plebeian even, working class who in time were even accused of being capitalists… that came a few year later. We watched our pennies… we had to if we wanted to feed the hungry offspring on one income.
We had saved, we had researched a loan and now we were going to actually buy something for the house that was brand new. We were out to furnish the room in the house, the one special room that was the cradle of our growing family. It had to be a big bed because the vegemiters still joined us regularly and there were six of us to fit into that bed even though we weren’t big people. The eldest Son No. 1 still made midnight visits to join the mob, though he told us he was getting too old for that now. Still I would wake and find him sleeping on the mat on the floor next to the old bed just before the morning larking would begin when everyone stirred.
Anyways… back to that shopping trip. This was so long ago that waterbeds were just at the point of being refined and we had decided that we wanted one. Mainly because they were heated and I was never so keen on the combination of electric blankets and kids, so this internal heating mechanism waterbeds had was a plus. We wanted heating, we wanted specialized baffles to stop the back wash that could gleefully dumping the kids out of the bed. Our kids were terrors! We knew that this was something that the terrors would discover and we had no doubt it was something that they would delight in, we had to be certain the baffles worked well. Then we found it.
The Bed! It was huge! Given that our home was of the old design, ie 10 foot by 10 foot rooms and a historic miners cottage in SE Queensland we were pushing the envelope. The bed is 7 foot in each stretch from side to side of its octagonal shape. Aside from the corners of the room, the bed was going to be the room. We loved it in an instant and we bought it in a second. It was ours regardless of any reservations about its size that we had. It was the most beautiful thing on the planet.
In the years to come we would extend the house to better accommodate the growing brood and actually build an alcove for The Bed. It was to become our sanctuary when the kids finally gave up joining us at night. It was like a room unto itself, it was warm, soft, smelt good and it was the womb of our family.
The kids used to argue over who was going to inherit The Bed… until they realized the impracticalities of its size. Over the years it was refurbished, new bladder, new heater, new covers. It even went through its medieval renaissance when I draped it in netting and lace to keep prying teenage eyes out, along with adventurous kids and then it went through its goth period when everything, the lace, the covers all were black. It even had a National theme at one point where trims were desert red, sky black or ocean blue. Then there was the caveman era, possum rugs and continental pillows, The Bed had a life all of its own. I love The Bed.
We have just recently said our goodbyes to The Bed. The time has come and it’s been a magnificent innings. The Man is still mulleting around after being retrenched and there are many changes in our lives happening these days. Together at the moment we are off on a southern escape to allow us time to regroup. It is a fortunate thing this escape as it was planned before the retirement axe descended on our lives cleaving us into retirement.
In the short two weeks that we are away regrouping the Baby Boy will take over the home, he will be caretaker for the next several years and we bless his little blue cotton socks that he can do this for us. When we return we will become officially part of the Grey Nomad set … 40 shades of Grey no less and The Bed… well The Bed too is going into retirement. It won’t fit into the Grandie flat, otherwise known as the caravan.
I couldn’t bring myself to part with The Bed and it is a specialist removal project to relocate, it is beyond handing on, beyond selling, so the Baby Boy has been instructed to deal with it at some time in the next year. Invest in his own bed, one to his own tastes and to dispose of The Bed in due course. Something I would find hard to do.
It is done now, arrangements are made and we are in our short period we have allowed ourselves to mentally adjust. So we said our goodbyes to The Bed and we launch feet first into the future. What an endeavour… what a challenge… and what a wrench between the past and the future.
Retirement! There is nothing like it but there is also no preparing for some things in life.