Horse by Feliciano Guimaraes(CC by 2.0)

In my grandmother’s spare bedroom, there was a red horse hair sofa.
Red horse hair sofa…For some reason, these words fascinate me. As I toss them over and over in my mind, I can actually see that sofa. I can feel it. It’s hard and rough and overstuffed.

But was there really a horse hair sofa in my grandmother's second bedroom? Are sofas even made from horse hair? Perhaps my memory is playing tricks.

The other day when the words ‘red horse hair sofa’ popped into my head yet again, I decided to do some googling. Horse hair sofas do exist. Perhaps my grandmother did indeed have one. But I am not really sure.

When I was about 6 years old, I had a day’s holiday from school. I spent that free day at home with my mother and 2 younger sisters. We watched the horse racing on TV. Before each race my mother and I chose the horse we thought would win. Our choices were based solely on name. “Angel Eyes, that’s my horse,” I said, with a dreamy look in my own eye. My mother and I would sit side-by-side, cheering our horses towards the finish line. It didn’t matter if they lost. There was always another race. We could try again.

On that same day, I remember my mother giving me some money. I walked up to the local shop all by myself. I felt very grown up. What did I buy? I don’t recall.

But I do remember what happened when I went back to school the next day.

“Where were you yesterday?” my teacher asked.

My eyebrows shot downwards. A frown appeared on my face. I didn't understand. Wasn’t yesterday a holiday? Weren’t all the school children at home? They weren't. My mother and I had got into a muddle. The holiday was still a week away. Not that I told my teacher about our mistake. It seems, even at that young age, I knew how to get myself out of an awkward situation. I lied: “I was sick.” The teacher never found out I’d enjoyed a wonderful day horse racing with my mother.

I look back in time and wonder how accurate my memory is. My mother doesn’t like horse racing. Would she have let a 6 year old girl walk up to the shops alone? It seems highly unlikely. But I can picture everything so clearly. I suppose I could ask my mother but have you ever noticed how memories can differ from person to person?

“That’s not how it happened!” she might say, shaking her head firmly.

“But I'm certain I'm right,” I could reply.

Horse hair sofas, horse racing… wonderful stories dancing inside my head. I don’t know if they are true or not, but somehow they are part of me. They must fit into the story of my life somewhere.

I could make them fit in a fictional way. Don’t you think a red horse hair sofa and a day of horse racing belong in one of my stories?

Auntie Jenny and Celeste are sitting side-by-side on the sofa, in front of the TV. It's a red overstuffed sofa. Celeste runs her fingers over it. It feels hard and scratchy.

“This sofa used to belong to Nanna,” says Auntie Jenny. “It’s stuffed with real horse hair.”

Celeste’s eyes open wide. “A red horse hair sofa,” she says, rolling the words around her tongue. She frowns. “Not real horse hair?”

Auntie Jenny doesn’t answer. She doesn't even hear Celeste’s question. She is looking at the TV screen. “Celeste! They’re bringing out the horses for the next race. Which one do you think’s going to win? Choose your horse!”

“Angel Eyes,” says Celeste quickly. “Isn’t that a beautiful name? Which horse do you want?”

Auntie Jenny doesn’t hesitate either. “Slippery Dip! Isn’t that a fun name?”

The horses are racing. Auntie Jenny and Celeste cling to the edge of the red horse hair sofa. They hardly dare breathe. Which horse will win?...

 Do you have childhood memories you sometimes ponder, wondering how true they really are?

Talking of Auntie Jenny and Celeste, if you are interested in my children's novel, The Angels of Angel Creek, it should be available for purchase in a few days' time!

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  1. I have had childhood (and later) memories that I was sure were exact, and then found people who remembered the same things somewhat differently. But I do remember horsehair sofas... they lurked about in the dusty shadowed parlors of great-aunts and they felt scratchy on my skin if I sat on them.

    Or am I remembering correctly :)?

    1. Nancy,

      Horse hair sofas must really exist if you remember them too!

      I find memories fascinating. Sometimes they can float around in my minds, not quite making sense, almost like bits of an unfinished jigsaw puzzle. I guess one day all will be revealed. Every single piece will fall into place and we'll see our lives and what they mean very clearly!

  2. Oh how cool with your book coming out shortly Sue! What a cute memory, I like to think it is true; seems like a lot of detail to remember if it wasn't, know what I mean? I never heard of horsehair sofas, interesting!


    1. Betty,

      I can't imagine where my thoughts of horse hair sofas and horse racing came from if I didn't actually experience these stories. Maybe you are right: they are true memories!

      I found quite a lot of info about horse hair sofas online. Some sofas are stuffed with horse hair. Others are upholstered with fabric woven from horse hair. The mane and tail hair are used.

      I'm excited about my book. Maybe the final (hopefully) proof copy will arrive tomorrow or the next day!

      Thank you for your comment. Lovely to chat!

  3. Congratulations, Sue!! I'm so happy for you---your book is soon to be published!! tremendous news!

    Cannot wait to get my copy....!

    Love the horse hair sofa forays back in time to relive childhood memories are always so wonderful. So happy to be getting caught up, Sue....I'll have to click backwards into your earlier posts to read what I missed while away.....

    I hopeall is well with you and the family, friend.:) I look fwd to being in touch again!

    1. Chris,

      Thank you for your congratulations! It's lovely to share my exciting news with you. I'm hoping the final proof copy of my book will arrive in the mail tomorrow morning. You want a copy? You are kind!

      It's such a pity you are no longer doing the Memoir Monday link up. I have lots of stories I could tell. I suspect you do too! I love reading your own memoir posts.

      I don't think you missed many posts while you were away. I haven't written much on this blog recently. I'm glad to see you back. Looking forward to visiting your blog and hearing all your news!

  4. "Horse hair sofa" does sound nice as I say it aloud. I agree, it does belong in a story. I like what you've got so far. As Auntie Jenny and Celeste leaned on the sofa while watching, I imagined them on horses themselves.

    Congrats on your new book Sue! Whoooo-hoooo!

    1. Susie,

      Horse hair sofa...I've been rolling those words around my tongue, saying them out loud too! Some words sound so good.

      I bet I could turn those few paragraphs about Auntie Jenny and Celeste into a proper story. I will have to try some time!

      Thank you for your congratulations! (I also like the sound of the words Whoooo-hoooo!)


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