Getting some sleep
It was one of those late spring nights when the weather had turned very cold as it often does in Nevada. Riley and Molly had jumped up on my bed and were snuggled down inside their own little doggie beds. Molly usually stays all night with me.
Riley stays until about two in the morning, when he makes his exit — usually waking me — and heads across the house to “daddy’s” room. It’s become a nightly ritual. I was sleeping on a new mattress, softer and much more comfortable than my old one. Doug had also gotten a new, softer version after my oldest son, and his wife, Earlene, had visited bringing with them one of those blow up type queen sized mattresses.
They complained that Doug’s bed was so hard they couldn’t sleep on it on their last visit. I’d been telling Doug about this for months. He finally got the message and bought a new mattress. So I also decided it was time for a new one. That particular night I just couldn’t seem to get to sleep. I began thinking about all of the different types of beds I’ve purchased over the years.
Some of them were unusual. The first bed I remember was the double bed my sister Jeanne and I shared. It had a box spring under the mattress. However, unlike those of today it had no cover; it was just metal springs. Does anybody today have a double bed? I thought about this as I pulled my covers up under my chin. In those olden days there were no queen or king sized beds.
Every night, Jeanne and I would go through that “she kicked” me routine. It must have driven my parents crazy. Later, on my own during the 1980 when moving into a small apartment, I decided to buy one of those popular sofa bed “things.” I thought that one day I could use it in a spare room. Ever try to turn over or sling your leg out over the edge of one of those things?
More than once I slammed my leg into the back section, cursing the day I was stupid enough to pay good money for that so-called “sofa bed” to use as a regular bed. When it just became too much, I opted for a queen bed and squeezed it into that tiny bedroom. But I no longer had to worry about bruising my legs.
Recalling back in the early 1940s, when Don Sr. and I got married, our first apartment had a “Murphy” bed. That’s one of those things that is kept flat up against the wall and covered with either a curtain or doors like a closet. Pulling the curtain back we pulled the bed down, it’s legs unfolded making a bed. During the day we reversed the procedure.
Then in Athens, West Virginia — sometime in 1944 — my first night was spent sleeping on a straw filled mattress. Not very comfortable, but I hadn’t slept on the train trip from Philly and was too exhausted to care. Then I moved to Mrs. Roll’s boarding house and slept on an old fashioned high back double bed covered each night with my landlady’s hand made quilts.
The boys and I often talk about our trip west in the summer of 1964 and what ensued. Our first night after leaving Ambler, Pa., was spent in a hotel in Harrisburg because Doug had a toothache and had to have a tooth removed. We then got the brilliant idea of buying camping equipment and spent the first “camping” night in a tent sleeping on one of those “you blow them up” $1 mattresses.
Of course those things kept deflating. Don Jr., Doug and I slept on the hard ground. Danny, David and Dean were little fellahs and slept across the three seats of our VW bus. They were comfortable, we were miserable. Later, when I married my second husband Van in 1969 in Reno, he had a cab-over camper with a queen-sized bed. Van’s sister and brother-in-law attended our very late evening wedding.
Most motels were full so we all slept in Van’s camper that night. They got the cab-over bed, Van and I on a bed made from the dining table. Leaving Reno, we pulled over in a wide spot at the Virginia City cut-off. Can you imagine trying to do that today?
And how comfortable is your bed? My new one has turned out just great.
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org