Hand-me-downs are essential to the newly-married.
Back in the early 1990s, when My Lovely Wife and I set up house in a tiny shack halfway between her job in Southern Pines and mine in Raleigh, we had only 850 square feet to fill and nothing with which to fill it.
The house had five rooms: (1) a bedroom with a four-foot closet, the only closet in the entire house; (2) a kitchen with twelve square inches of usable counter space and an antique stove that sparked more than it cooked; (3) a former screened porch turned foyer that housed the clothes dryer; (4) a great room that served as both living room and dining room, in addition to housing the washing machine just under the pass-through between the kitchen and dining room; and (5) a bathroom that combined all of the worst qualities of every 1970s KOA campground bathroom I'd ever experienced.
We both brought to the house personal belongings that helped make it a home. In My Lovely Wife's case, that included a bedroom suite and a set of sidetable lamps from her parents' house.
If you overlook that her childhood bed held only a full-size mattress, or that it was of a frilly French Colonial style, or that it sported an equally frilly canopy that made me question my gender every morning when I woke beneath it, it was perfect. We didn't have much money back then, so we made it work, even after our 65-pound Dalmatian developed a habit of stretching herself lengthwise between us every night.
The sidetable lamps were another matter.
Which brings me back to those lamps.
The stately shades matched the French Colonial bedroom suite perfectly. Unfortunately, so did the golden naked ladies who held the bulbs aloft in their upstretched arms. I not so lovingly, and not so creatively, referred to them as "the naked lady lamps."
Their presence alone did not offend or unnerve me, but there were many times I felt distinctly perverted groping around in the dark trying to the light on. It might have been worse if they were naked men, I suppose. Can you imagine the quantity of glue we would have used reattaching their members after a false turn of the wrong knob?
In time, and after encouragement from me, we purchasd a more conservative set of lamps to adorn our sidetables. Almost 20 years later, the French Colonial bedroom suite is mostly gone, a few pieces hidden under paint and serving out their final days in Our Daughter's room.
It is said we become more and more like our parents as we age. I've kept a close watch on My Lovely Wife for signs of it, but so far there isn't a single cherub in sight.
© 2011 Mark Feggeler