building new castles every day

The Army Cot

In Learnings on July 12, 2010 at 3:00 AM

My Opa’s family immigrated to Canada soon after World War II. Having been forced to move during the restructuring of what was German-occupied land and is now American-freed Austria, “Germans” like my grandfather decided to make a complete change. Times weren’t easy (I’ve been told, reminded, and humbled several times) and belongings were few. This here cot is one relic that found its way into the hands of my Opa’s mother.

An American company name, “The Telescope Folding Furn. Co.” is stamped in yellow ink on the heavy wood beam, slightly covered by the faded fatigue green. I’m going to assume that when the Americans went home, they didn’t bother bringing their beastly, 50+ lb bedding. I mean, c’mon, the hinges are made of the heaviest metal and I’m certain the frame is solid wood. I can’t imagine carrying this thing around on my back in addition to the rest of my kit!

Anyway, I’m told that it doubled as a sofa during my Opa’s European childhood and Canadian youth.

When my own parents made the move from their birth province of Ontario to British Columbia in 1990, the cot-cum-sofa came too! One of the frame’s pieces got lost during the journey so my Handy Dad fashioned one out of a hockey stick!

My sisters and I each have our own memories of having to sleep on that cot while our rooms were painted many a summer. When friends slept over, we would proudly tell them about the fateful sleep they’d soon endure on “The Army Cot”. Firm but strangely comfortable. I wonder what the soldiers thought of it.

It’s doubtful the American soldiers slept in warm kitchens or had down-feather douvees to curl under every night but, as I re-discovered this weekend while lending my double bed to visitors, canvas ain’t so bad.

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