MagPie Tales 93 – “When The Couch Was Saved”


Here’s a piece for Magpie Tales 93, a writer’s blog hosted by Tess Kincaid, and also GooseberryGoesPoetic.  I have made my version of Tess’s photographic prompt above. The first piece I did for the prompt was about “Hello Dolly!”, but then I started thinking of Novembers in years past, and ended up with the piece below.

When the Couch, at least, was Saved 

It was a time in which couches were saved for company,
their cushions, if not under actual wraps, under threat of maternal bemoan.

It was an age of short white gloves for Sunday School, and
a brand new outfit at Easter–hats with brims if a child, a prim
round edge, if not.

It was a period when the National Anthem was played in movie theaters, and we would stand, conscious, in the projected ripple of stars and stripes on the screen and the echoing thrill in our chests, of the seats at the backs of our knees, the brush of velvet cushion, the chill of metal frame.

It was a day when we parked at McDonalds, its arches like a movie theater too, and from the radio of our white-finned Olds, heard the news about Jack Ruby and his sawed-off shotgun in Dallas.

It was a day we had spent much of standing, down at the Capital, in grieving awe at the jagged prance of the dark riderless horse, the turned-back polished boots.

The news of Ruby, Oswald dead, hit like a third anvil, an odd blank thud on the already crushed. My mother leaned from the car door as if sick, “what in God’s name is happening to this country?”

It was a whisper she would repeat several times over the next few years as we sat on the living room floor before the ultraviolet of aging TV, my mom in a kitchen chair (the couch still saved for company), praying for someone we had loved from afar not to have been shot, or at least, not to die, watching too the riderless wave of what came next and next and next, a velvet place in our aching chests more and more conscious of metal.



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15 Comments on “MagPie Tales 93 – “When The Couch Was Saved””

  1. Tess Kincaid Says:

    We are of the same generation…fabulous write…what a treat…

  2. brian miller Says:

    love all the details you rbing before you put it all into context for us…turning points…and now i think many of us have recently been asking that question as well…

  3. David King Says:

    Wheesh, what a story! And brilliantly told. I was completely captivated.

  4. Berowne Says:

    I too well remember that moment — “for someone we had loved from afar not to have been shot, or at least, not to die,”
    Very well written.

  5. jinksy Says:

    Clever take! And another great graphic…

  6. lovely perspective, well done.

  7. Mama Zen Says:

    Wonderful write. The last line is exquisite.

  8. Helen Says:

    Incredible graphic … nice writing!!!

  9. David King Says:

    Superbly written, a very enjoyable read.

  10. zongrik Says:

    seems like so long ago

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