I am not stiff-necked, and I don’t mind apologizing when I have wronged someone. So here you go, Rich. I apologize for inwardly doubting you.

Let me explain. Rich is one of my colleagues (from another of my college’s four campuses), and he served as the Canterbury Mentor last semester. When he graciously met me for coffee/tea just a few days after his return from England this past December to share with me hints and tips for serving as this semester’s mentor, he mentioned that the mattresses in the flat I would be staying in are very firm, as in hard.

Rich shared that he tried putting the comforters from all 3 beds on top of the mattress, but that didn’t help. He also carried the mattresses from the other 2 bedrooms and put them on top of the mattress in “his” room — that didn’t work, either. Visions of Carol Burnett in the tv production of “The Princess and the Pea” came to mind as he was talking, and I had to laugh at the image of Rich, a modern-day Prince and the Pea, perched atop 3 mattress and 3 comforters, tossing and turning all night long.

Although I didn’t admit this to Rich at the time, I was a bit skeptical of his tale. I mean, how hard can a mattress be? The first time I sat down on the mattress, I found out for myself. Rich, I apologize for doubting you! The mattresses in this flat (and, if my Illinois counterpart’s experience is any indication, *all* the flats in this complex) are the hardest created in the history of mattress manufacturing.

Every night for just over 2 weeks, I worked on lecture notes, read, knit, or watched television until my eyes would barely stay open (literally) and then head to bed, hoping that this would be the night that I would fall asleep with some semblance of ease. Every night for just over 2 weeks, as soon as I stretched out on the torture device known as a mattress, my eyes would pop open and I would be wide awake much of the night — a contemporary Princess with a pea. But not last night!

While strolling around Oxford Saturday, I had an idea, and last night I gave it a try. I took the 4 pillows from one of the spare beds and placed them, sideways and side by side, on top of the bottom of the 2 comforters I have been using as a modified mattress pad. Starting with where my feet would hit and moving upward, I could cover exactly the length of my feet to my neck. I put the 2nd comforter over the pillows and then placed 2 of the pillows from my bed where my head would go. Hopeful that this would work, I slipped into bed, and covered up with the 3rd comforter.

It was heavenly! It was blissful! I was almost reluctant to go to sleep because I hated to miss feeling the comfort of my new “mattress”!  (I know all those exclamation marks are a bit annoying, but divulge me a bit here. My joy is almost boundless.)  When I woke up this morning after a full, uninterrupted 8 hours’ sleep, the pillows hadn’t shifted a bit.

I am no longer “royalty”, but I’ve got a fantastic mattress!