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Aging-but-beloved couch stuffed full of memories

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My two oldest daughters fell asleep in the living room the other night. The long legs that carried them to class across their grassy college campuses were now sprawled across our hunter green leather couches.

I tried to remember how long we’ve had the living room furniture — I could only remember that Steve and I bought our first creme-colored leather couch a few months after we married nearly 24 years ago — it was a pricey, yet smart $999 investment.

After nearly a quarter-century of use, it is relegated to resting in front of the basement fireplace. During their living room tumbling exhibitions when they were preschoolers, we sometimes encouraged the girls to “be easy on the couch, one day you can take this to college with you.”

A few times in the past year I’ve suggested donating it to someone who could use it, only to be rebutted with a chorus of: “No Mom, you can’t get rid of our chicken couch, you promised we could have it.”

The “chicken” is a permanent 8-inch, blue-ink drawing from the talented 3-year-old hands of a current Indiana University chemistry student. The aforementioned bird is barely visible now, because 17 years ago, the little Picasso’s mother thought it was important to read “Heloise’s Household Hints” and attempt to remove this never-comes-off-until-you-die-permanent-ink masterpiece from the back of her leather couch.

If I would have know this child’s propensity toward chemistry then, I would have immediately given her a chemistry set to concoct a new product called “Chloe’s It’s Never Really Permanent Removal System.” We could have become rich, and I could have a new couch every year — with a whole slew of barnyard animals in a vast array of colors drawn on the back of each couch.

Chloe suggested recently that I should note that she was far-advanced of most graffiti artists in her day, since she was intelligent enough not to put her name next to her graffiti.

Her older sister Aly, who befittingly is in public relations, used to write her name on their wood bunkbed and within every single colorful bubble on their new ocean/fish bedroom wallpaper.

I wonder if Picasso’s mom ever got rid of her old couch.

Janet Hommel Mangas, the third of seven children, grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters.

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