How amazing to be vindicated in such a way. I was reading a profile of a talented chef/restaurateur, manager of a notable eating establishment in our city. And, he said that his most valuable personal possession is, get this….his recliner chair! Not his car or house or stereo system or iPhone or…whatever. And he’s only 27.
Eureka! A kindred soul. How can I describe the delights of sinking down after an exhausting day of running hither and yon into the thick folds of that plush rocking recliner chair in my bedroom? Such ecstacy. Pure comfort. The person who invented the rocker/recliner deserves our undying admiration and gratitude.
It’s a funny story with me. And it goes back a long way. I grew up amidst elegant furnishings and surroundings: fine oriental rugs, chippendale chairs, antique 18th and 19th century furniture, fine export Chinese porcelain, some of it 200 years old. Everything very tasteful.
And of course, to sit in, there were those rather uncomfortable wingback chairs, tastefully upholstered, of course. I’m not denigrating fine taste. My mother had exquisite taste in antiques and furnishing, drapes, rugs, wall hangings, art, etc. I liked it all, more so when I was older and could better appreciate fine things.
But a recliner chair would just not have been considered suitable, or in any way fitting, for those rooms at my mother’s elegant downtown house where I lived for years while I was her caregiver.
I’ve never owned a fine piece of furniture in my life. Everything has been plain and simple. The bare essentials. Instead of a nice desk for my early Mac computer, I had a card table. It was perfect. Strictly utilitarian. Underneath it was a banker box with seat cushion on top to prop my feet up on. I was never going to win any awards for interior design. “Whatever worked,” would have been my motto, then and now. How strange it is then, that I love to look at people’s finely furnished homes and interiors in glossy magazines. But that’s another story.
So, when I got my first large apartment way back in 1979, as long as I had my books, and a long-dreamed-of recliner chair, I was happy. A couple of years earlier I had purchased a bed from Unclaimed Freight and my former employer gave me a used sofa and armchair. It worked. Simplicity, I re-iterate, was a big deal for me back in the day. It was my philosophy. I bought a Barca-lounger recliner, my first-ever recliner purchase. It was everything I could have needed or wanted in such an all-encompassing chair. I used it for a total of four years.
To me, a chair I was going to spend untold hours in has to be comfortable, luxuriously so. And my first recliner would be in the bedroom, next to the window looking out over the woods. It was beige corduroy, not slick, cold naugahide. I was happy with it. Very happy.
When I was uprooted yet again and left on my travels around the country, I put everything from that apartment into storage, including my beloved recliner. There it sat for three years, collecting dust and mothball odors from the next storage unit until I finally came and emptied the unit and gave everything away — two truckloads — almost all of my possessions — to the Salvation Army. It was a sad day to see that favorite recliner chair loaded on the truck. We become so very attached to certain of our possessions in a very real and personal way.
For years afterward, I moved often, buying and giving away yet more furniture and never keeping anything for long, until 1995 when I finally settled down after a long nomadic youth of roaming all over the country. Again, comfort was the main priority. I got a nice quiet apartment and my second recliner chair. This one was kind of a light blue purple color and also upholstered in corduroy. Is there a pattern here? It was just as luxurious as my first one. I also bought a bed, a lamp, a very small circular dining room table. Also, a massive landscape print which I had framed and hung on the living room wall. I still have it in storage almost 30 years later.
I was so pleased that I had tried and succeeded in buying a recliner that was as close as possible to that first chair. The covering was so comfortable. Agin, it was the type of chair you sink down into. Just like the other one. You wear grooves in it. You accumulate big piles of dimes and pennies and quarters in the cracks and crevices of the seat, plus crumbs and bread and pieces of pizza crusts.
People with more refined taste in furniture may look down on the lowly recliner, but to me, there is nothing quite so fine and beautiful as a well made Barkalounger or Lazy-Boy or some other comparable brand. Pure Heaven. Civilized. That’s what they are. Just like my latest one, No. 3 in the pantheon of most comfortable and luxurious chair imaginable.
Recliner chairs past and present. https://www.flickr.com/gp/camas/559BXL78yH