Archive for March, 2013

In the days after our success with “Lovers and Other Strangers” at the Officers Club life went on;  concerts, contests, trips to NYC to buy equipment, last minute drives to DC for the same, and paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork.

During all of this activity my family life continued as well. For the first time since our marriage (and the last so it happened) Jen didn’t have to work. Her full time job was Mother, wife and whatever she wanted to do. Ft Dix had countless things to do for families and children as well as soldiers.

She was always very talented at making things with her hands. The Ft.Dix crafts center fueled that fire daily. She began taking pottery classes, weaving classes, knitting, macramé and on and on.

We had always made gifts for Christmas and other holidays because we had too. We had no money to buy them. In college we even made made our own holiday cards  and the paper we wrapped our gifts in. Now that we could afford to buy gifts we continued to make things for our home and our friends. By the time we were assigned on-base Officers housing, she had a created a houseful of amazing artwork.

We were assigned to a two bedroom house on a corner lot (very nearly across the street from the Generals home). Big open rooms, lots of windows, high ceilings large walk-in closets. We personally owned two chairs, 2 beds, one table, the ammo box bookshelves and lots and lots of books and art. It was a beautiful space that suited us very well. We were able to borrow furniture from the Army until we got our own (or not). And now she was even closer to the  crafts center.

The Post nursery was next to the craft center so Chris was being taken care of and being socialized at the same time we were getting all Arty.

One weekend we decided to drive into Philadelphia to shop for a sofa bed. In Gimbels Dept Store we found the absolutely artiest sofa bed ever! Nubby fabric, earth tone yellow, orange and green stripes and it was affordable. We bought it immediately and happily went home to wait for its delivery. A few days later the truck drove up in front of our new home, carried the new sofa inside, unwrapped it, cleaned up their mess and drove away.

When I came home that evening I was thrilled. There it was. We just kept looking at it and smiling. Chris was busy jumping on the cushions and rolling on it.

I suggested excitedly that we try out the bed. Great idea! We unfolded the bed lay in it , jumped and rolled on it and felt very proud of ourselves for having so successfully shopped!

Eventually we decided to put the bed back and sit down to watch tv.

It wouldn’t go back.

We tried everything– Pulling it out again and pushing harder . Pushing even harder and then both of us pushed even harder.

It Would Not Go Back in!!

We  gave up and decided to call Gimbels the very next day.

A repair man arrived the next day. He walked into the house, looked at the sofa, pushed it, pushed it harder. And then declared, “This thing is broken.”

“I’ll send someone back for it. Leave it the way it is and the store will send movers later.”

And then he was gone.

One month and a dozen phone calls later the sofa/avant garde sculpture  was still in our living room reaching towards the ceiling amidst all of our other pieces of art. There was still no place to sit.

On week later Mr. A said, “Call Mr. Gimbel”

“There is no such person as Mr. Gimbel.”

“Of course there is. Do you want me to call?”

“No. No. I’ll do it”

I once again took out the well worn delivery slip, found the phone number and called it.

“Gimbels Dept Store, how may I direct your call?”

“Mr. Gimbel’s office please.”

“Whom shall I say is calling?”

“Lt. Douglas Smith from Ft. Dix, New Jersey.”

“One moment”

Maybe 2 minutes later, “ Hello Lt.- Gimble here. What can I do for you?”

Oh my God! I could barely speak…I really got through to the president of the company.

I explained what had happened regarding my sofa bed; he apologized profusely and said he would have it taken care of immediately. I hung up the phone– flabbergasted but still skeptical.

Mr. A beamed! “Told you, by God! Go to the top. Always go to the top!”

The very next morning a Gimbels truck pulled up in front of our house; loaded the sofa bed into the truck and handed us a check for the full amount of the purchase. There were no more in stock. Apparently they had sent us the floor model. That explained a lot.

That weekend we went to a nearby Sears store, purchased a magnificent “leather” Chesterfield rolled arm, button tufted queen sized sofa bed; had it delivered the same day; and enjoyed many, many years of stylish comfort slipping deeply and comfortably into it’s soft delightful arms.

Always go to the top. Indeed.