Since the dawn of time, there’s no doubt been a seating pecking order, with different family members having a special chair (or rock, as it likely began) to sit on.
While the habit may have waned in recent years as big, comfortable couches have taken over our lounge rooms, it wasn’t that long ago that ‘dad’s chair’ was usually the best seat in the house.
Often parked to get the clearest view of the television set, you didn’t dare sit in it if mum or dad was around, and if you did risk some chair-based relaxation, you’d soon get the signal that it was time to move.
In our parents’ absence, taking his place in the chair was the source of plenty of sibling squabbles.
Each parent had a special place to relax. For dads of a certain era, the chair was a place to relax, read the paper, watch TV, possibly eat dinner on a tray, and even nap until it was time for bed.
The chair itself could take any shape – leather, wooden-framed, upholstered in all manner of fabric, firmly upright or the iconic reclining La-Z-Boy – but it almost always sported a sag in the cushion where dad sat, and sometimes a hollow in the upper backrest if he was often inclined to rest his head.
For those that carry on the tradition these days, it’s most likely the chair sporting the remote control. Or perhaps it’s not a chair now, but a heavily indented spot on the couch.
Starts at 60 asked its readers to share their memories of that special parent’s chair that took pride of place in many homes, with plenty of heartwarming results.
In our house, there was a definite pecking order as regards to seating. Dad had his chair, Mum had hers, which meant my sister and I were always confined to the sofa, although back then it was also acceptable to lie on the floor. John Darley
My [husband] Deane had his own lounge chair, nobody ever sat in his chair, not that he ever told us not to. We just never sat in his chair. When he went into hospital and never ever came home, nobody sat there. Even after he died, nobody sat there. Funny that. Sylvia Harvie
The grandchildren like to steal into their grandfather’s chair, as it’s quite big and will hold two children. They don’t bother about mine. It’s a status thing and they giggle triumphantly when they get a chance to sit there. Vivienne Beddoe
I have inherited my father’s wooden armchair, at which he sat with a side table – I have that too. We were allowed to sit on it if he wasn’t in the room but if he came in, we had to get up and sit elsewhere, of course. If a visitor went to sit on it, we’d say to him/her, “No, not there, that’s our father’s place”. Susan Gabriel-Clarke
With us it wasn’t a chair but a ‘blanket box’. It was my great-grandfather’s sea-faring box. It has a secret compartment and all. I’m the lucky sibling that now owns it. It’s very old and needs a bit of maintenance (in the pipeline). It has been used for many things over the years but it is a great storage box. Libby English
With my dad I remember he had a special chair but it wasn’t in the lounge room. It was a basic plastic chair he kept out in the garage. He would sneak outside to have a stubby in peace. In later years he had a large recliner chair that took pride of place in front of the television. The grandkids would all fight over who got to sit in it. The end result was often all of them, all at once. Colin O’Neill
Did your mother, father or grandparents have a ‘special chair’? What do you remember about it?