Tuesday 9 March 2010

The Cushion

I have been re-covering a cushion today 

and it reminded me of a childhood story that resides  
deeply embedded in my memory. 
Until recently the detail was as hard to grasp as 
a shard of shell in a beaten egg.
I knew it was about a cushion.
A little girl had bought it for her mother because 
her back was aching.
They were poor. This is important to know.
She decided to mend it and started to remove the old faded cover.
Underneath that was another older cover, and another beneath that.
I can see the different patterns and 
the colours of each successive cover.
And then beneath the next cover she hears a crackling sound.
She pulls the last layer off - and this is the spine tingling bit -
it is stuffed with money.

There is enough money to make them rich for ever.

I decided I had to try to find this book because I was sure that
 if I could resuscitate the memory, 
I would be five years old again for an instant.
  After many years, I tracked it down -
but when it arrived - what a disappointment.
It was cheaply illustrated in red and green.
There were not nearly as many layers to the cushion
as there should have been,
none of the beautiful patterns were shown
and there was only a modest amount of money!

I gave the book away.
And now I'm going to put another cover on my cushion.


  1. But see -- the idea was good. (And the word verification thing is derici, which I believe was my great aunt's name -- my grandfather's youngest sister. Mysterious.)

  2. Uh oh. I think I inadvertently sent you a comment under my real name. It was me, readersguide.

  3. but what a fun story to imagine ...

  4. Forget you ever found the book again; forget the disappointment.

    What you had for all those years was a story made vivid and magical by the power of a child's imagination, and that is worth holding on to.

  5. Sometimes it doesn't pay to "revisit".... but the problem is, sometimes it does.... and how should we choose?

  6. There's only one thing for it . You'll have to rewrite the story and re-illustrate it ..... collage would be perfect , just think of all the materials and colours you could use ! Then it would be as deeply satisfying as you remember it .
    A new generation of children would love it too .

  7. Oh - I remember that story, too, but I think the crackle of the cushion stayed with me more than the thought of the fabrics. I remember thinking how uncomfortable that cushion must have been.
    Please can you tell us the story's title and author?

  8. I think it was almost certainly Enid Blyton but I will have to check the title with the person I gave the book to.

  9. I recently got back from the loft a beloved childhood book called 'Pookie Puts the World Right'. I remembered it as a magical book where Pookie, the little rabbit, went on a quest to save his world after all the weather was taken away.

    Turns out Pookie is a real grumpy old sod, with his pious finger-waving at all the other animals, who apparently only need to be saved because of their own lack of planning and moral inferiority.

    Some things are best remembered.

  10. Pookie is deep in my psyche too. I went to great lengths to find the first Pookie but bought Pookie in Search of a Home instead. Not the same at all.