Going to the Mattresses

In Diane Keaton: Here I Am in AARP Magazine, writer David Hochman writes that Keaton “acknowledges how challenging it is to juggle a still-busy career with a teen and a preteen at an age most women are feathering their empty nests with IKEA guest beds.”

leirvik bedThat annoyed a midwestern friend who responded, “But then I remembered: last year I bought one. For myself, true, but still…”

I had to go look up what an IKEA bed was.

My grandfather bought new beds for the Keys house but I have never bought a bed. Other than those, I think the newest bed in my inventory was bought in 1886.

“I sure hope you’ve bought mattresses for those old beds, Dick.”


Horsehair lasts forever.

(I do tighten the ropes every now and then, though.)

The truth about mattresses.

I come from an old Quaker family that never threw anything away. I can about count on my fingers all the furniture I’ve bought in my life: an oak drawing table, a walnut sideboard, the double recliner, the dining room chairs we gave to our daughter, a bedside table, a hassock. Porch furniture doesn’t count. Nor do the beds I built in New Jersey or the shower seat and the built-ins in Vermont. Anne and I have never been able to agree on a sofa so we don’t have one.

My great-grandfather Enos Barnard was a very short man, so he had a full size low-post bed cut down — it is about 64 inches nose to tail. I slept in that bed as a six-foot teenager which is why I still sleep diagonally even in a California King. And my uncle convalesced in that bed when he returned from the War. He is 6’5″ tall. His feet hung over the end which is the actual etymology of that phrase.

In North Puffin I sleep in the same maple Sheraton “4-poster” bed with a flat tester frame that my parents did. That and all the other beds will just about fit a full size (54″ x 75″) mattress with only a wee little bit of slightly droopy overhang. Don’t sleep on the very edge. My guest room beds are the same size — my mother’s mother’s bed from uphome and the guest room bed from downhome. Someone Before Me removed their rope knobs.

The attic there has the three beds we aren’t using plus their mattresses and boxes. I think the newest bed, the 1886 iron frame I slept in after I outgrew my great-grandfather’s bed is also there but my cousin Terry may have it.

Box springs are more difficult with older beds that don’t fit today’s twin/full/queen/king/Cali king standards. The frame rails on my full beds are set too close together to accommodate a ready-made box so the choice is to custom make the box spring that will sit between the rails or use a sky hook to get into a bed with the frame 33″ off the floor, plus the box spring and the 14″ of poof-top modern mattress. That would be taller than the mattress is wide. It’s a good thing we have high ceilings, but I would knock that tester off with an errant elbow.

6 thoughts on “Going to the Mattresses

  1. One of the reasons I bought this bed is that it accommodates a platform mattress (just one, no box), which I happened already to own. That’s where my Quaker thrift comes in.

    This is NOT a typical IKEA bed. Those are more Scandinavian moderny things.

  2. Eliminating IKEA from the playa is their strategic goal. And they are Now Hiring: Displaced high-tech engineers for positions in prototype development, transportation engineering and customer support at insanely low wages.

  3. IKEA is an anagram for a Scandanavian term that means *A Bed That Is Expensive Enough for Americans to Blog and Talk About*.

    — George

  4. George, you’ve been out of circulation too long.

    These days, $99 is not considered expensive for a bed. $99 probably has not been considered expensive for a bed for a couple hundred years. Oh wait: that fits. . .

Comments are closed.