That old divan

I have bought a new Canon scanner with which I am scanning in a lot of old negatives and colour slides. I know I’ve touched before on how viewing old photographs can trigger powerful memories. Some of the events I’ve looked at again were buried deep in the recesses of my mind and I hadn’t thought about either the people in them or the places and times they describe in a very long time.

We weren’t poor but our home was modest. Timber floors, when that was a sign of lack of money rather than a trendy fashion statement like it appears to be today, venetian blinds, and the only thing we had to sit on in the loungeroom was an old divan.

That piece of furniture saw all my childhod illnesses – mumps, measles, german measles and chicken pox. It even saw the days when my sisters or I faked illness in order to get out of school. And it was the place of choice for those Sunday nights in front of the TV watching Disneyland. It was there when we woke to find Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny had come. It saw the block fences around zoos and farms and the villages of lego and the fort full of my cowboys and indians, and my sisters games with their Barbie Dolls.

It was there when the log rolled out of the fireplace on a still night and burnt slowly through the floor of the house. It rested the weary bones of my four grandparents and accepted the jumps of young kids for years. At some time in the late sixties or early seventies, probably not long after that photo was taken, it was replaced by a three piece vinyl lounge suite, which as the years wore on also collected the creases of my family’s life until it too passed to someone else.

I know that some of you who read here like a writing challenge so my request of you is that you find a photo of an old piece of furniture and tell us it’s story – I’ll update this post with the links of anyone who cares to participate.



  1. Dorothy said,

    November 20, 2007 at 1:48 am

    Loz, This is wonderful memories. Don’t you love the hair styles. What a great find. Thanks for sharing…. I look forward to seeing more, now that you have your scanner….

    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call gram

  2. Loz said,

    November 20, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Hi Dorothy – I think there is about a year between the two photographs. I really am re-discovering some wonderful memories through the process.

  3. Anonymous said,

    November 20, 2007 at 3:24 am

    Oh Laurie, I love the way you write things and the memories flood back. The smile on my face as you wrote about the floorboards, and venetian blinds. And of course the reliable old couch. And for me also sitting on the floor in front of the oil heater that had been fitted into the old fireplace is a big memory. Sitting there trying to get my hair dry, or simply just trying to keep warm. The days before ducted heating became popular. At least mum and dad have good heating now, and the fireplace is now a fireplace again. Nice!
    My parents are still in the family home and although it has been quite updated, extended even, I sometimes wish they would rip up the carpet and bring back those old floorboards. But you know some of the venetians are still on some of the windows. Yikes!
    Furniture and furnishings are so special to me and I have to be surrounded by old things in my home. I just love the memories and feelings they evoke. Think I really got it from my grandmothers though. And maybe that is why I have become a bit of an Antique dealer.
    Great post.

    Jen x

  4. Loz said,

    November 20, 2007 at 3:35 am

    Hi Jen – my Dad passed away three years ago but he and Mum moved out of the family home about ten years prior to that and I do miss the old place.

    You can see in one of the photos that the open fireplace had become a briquette heater when the photo was taken, but later it became an oil heater and finally a gas one. In winter the warmest place was indeed right in front off. But as soon as you walked through the shut door into the passage to where the bedrooms were you froze.

  5. JYankee said,

    November 20, 2007 at 3:37 am

    yes that is a wonderful post about some wonderful memories…unfortunately.. all the old furniture in our original house was sold or dumped when mom moved to SoCal to be nearer our brother..and the photos are at HER house…*sigh*

  6. Anonymous said,

    November 20, 2007 at 3:57 am

    Laughing again, because our heater was a briquette one too before it became the oil heater. Oh and I so know what you mean about when that door opened and going to the bedrooms or bathroom. And those freezing mornings getting ready for School, because of course the heating was not going to be on at that time of the day. I remember ironing my School shirt or dress just so I could feel the warmth of it going on my body.
    Our kids now simply just don’t get what luxury they really have.


  7. Loz said,

    November 20, 2007 at 4:12 am

    Jyankee – Being able to digitise all these old photos is a wonderful opportunity to preserve them for my own descendants, so if you get the chance to ask your Mum or bro to scan some, you won’t regret it.

  8. Loz said,

    November 20, 2007 at 4:13 am

    Jen – ah yes – the warmth of clothes freshly ironed, utter bliss on a cold morning 🙂

  9. Gypsy said,

    November 20, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Gotta love all the memories that photos evoke in us. I always loved the old radiogram in my parents house (or at least that’s what they called it). It was quite large with a radio in it and you pulled down the record player with a handle. It reminds me of the parties my parents used to have with all the neighbours. If I can find a pic of it I will send it to you.

  10. Olga, the Traveling Bra said,

    November 20, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    My folks moved out of the old house years ago, but kept some of the furniture…a funky & very unique round coffee table that has all the signs of the zodiac carved into the top of it is my most memory provoking piece. I cleaned that sucker for years! I told my mom to never get rid of it – I want it! 🙂

  11. meleah rebeccah said,

    November 20, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    I love how pictures preserve the memories we forget…..

  12. Anonymous said,

    November 20, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Just re the Divan – Do you know how ‘in’ that is at the moment?
    I deal in a bit of retro and can tell you that would be very popular at the moment. lol.

  13. Blur Ting said,

    November 20, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    I like this post. Never knew an old divan can bring back so many old memories. You’re a nostalgic guy!

  14. Loz said,

    November 21, 2007 at 5:08 am

    Gypsy – we had an old bakelite radiogram as well. Love to see the photo.

    Olga – Now I’d like to see a photo of that too!

    Mel – me too

    Jen – I wish they still had it then.

    Blur – I have to admit that I am sometimes overly nostalgic – I long for the days when I wasn’t 😉

  15. HappyStill said,

    November 21, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    I really enjoyed this post.. it reminded me of my childhood although nothing in our house lasted long enough to build up memories… the quality was never there! However, I do remember the cream carpet that made a miraculous appearance in our ‘good’ room on Christmas eve night. The roll of carpet sat in the hall for quite a while being used as a long jump pit, a weapon (bend it and use it like a catapult!) and God knows what else.
    Anyway, we kids went to bed on Christmas eve and when we got up on Christmas morning there was what seemed like a snow covered ‘good’ room floor, with Christmas tree and presents. Who said there’s no such thing as Santa!

  16. Random Magus said,

    November 22, 2007 at 11:32 am

    That was written so beautifully. Happy Thanksgiving…

  17. Nascar and the Canadian Curmudgeon said,

    November 23, 2007 at 2:08 am

    we must be on the same wave length ..I have been looking at scanners for just the same reason..

  18. kellypea said,

    December 4, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    I’ve been scanning old photos, too. My mother’s and mine. It’s always an emotional task, and takes me quite a long time. Funny that you mention your old divan, where as I (in the book I’m writing for my mother) mentioned her old sofa in its fifth makeover. Lovely post. Congrats to your daughter!

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