Monday, February 2, 2015

A New Home for an Old Chair

When I was born, my grandparents were much older than most grandparents these days. That just seemed to be the norm back then. Their home had a parlor - one of those rooms that was rarely used, but was there. We always sat in the dining room where they had two big leather chairs. They sat there and we just found a place to sit.  It never seemed strange to me. That was just the way it was done. More often than not, my Grampa would take us into the kitchen and give us saltine crackers with real butter.

In their parlor were two very big wooden chairs with upholstered seats and backs. There was an beautiful carving across the back of the chair. I loved to look at the grain lines in the wood. It was very unusual to me. My Mom told me it was rose wood and I thought about what a big rose bush it had to have come from.

Once when a great aunt was visiting, we sat in the parlor. I chose one of the big wooden chairs and was so disappointed. It was scratchy to sit on. I don't remember the color or the type of fabric, but it wasn't fun to sit in. It was far more fun to look at the grain of the wood.

In the very early 60's both of my grandparents died within a month of each other and the house needed to be cleared out. Those two big chairs came to live at my parent's home. The first thing my Mother did was replace that scratchy fabric. They were always in our living room. Since family rooms were not a thing back then, it was a living room. I loved sitting in that chair. It was big, it was comfortable and the arms had a wonderful smoothness to them. 

The little boy who lived in the apartment in our house used to come ask if he could sit in the "King Chair". He would hop up there and just sit like a king on his throne. Just before my husband and I were married, my Mother had the chairs respringed (not sure if that is the correct wording) and covered in a beautiful teal velvet. One of my favorite pictures from our wedding day in that of our two 5 years old ring bearers dressed in their tuxes and sitting together in one of those chairs. They just seemed to be waiting for whatever came next.

In the early 70's my Mom and Dad decided to downsize and build a small retirement home. There would be no room for those two lovely chairs. Anyone who wanted them could have them. Unfortunately, we lived in a small house and only had room for one. My brother and his wife took the other one. And not long after, they got rid of it. But I have kept my chair. I still love the grain of the wood. When we moved to a bigger home, I redid the upholstery to go with our living room. Sadly, early in December I sat in the chair and the webbing beneath the springs gave way. Remember it has been nearly 50 years since my Mother had that spring work done.

So now it is 2015 and we are getting ready to downsize. There will be no room for the chair in our new place. And it grieved me that it had come to the end of a journey. But there is always a light at the end of a tunnel. Recently our daughter asked if she could have the chair. Said she loves the chair, finds it comfortable and wants it in her place. You have no idea how thrilled I was to hear that. My husband and I decided to have the work done on the springs and the chair reupholstered in something she would like. Last week we went fabric shopping. Now she is not a fabric person and I wasn't sure what she would choose. But it had to be her decision. It was her chair now and had to fit into her home. It was a long selection process..........and one I very much enjoyed. Some of the fabrics she liked, didn't do the chair justice. Other fabric was just not to her liking. But finally she had it narrowed down to 3. And she made her selection. And a great choice she made. She told her Dad that the fabric had to honor the chair. And so the chair will live on again in another home. It is going off to the upholster next week and then to its new home.

I am delighted to see the chair be reborn. It will have a new set of springs, new upholstery and a new home. I home that it serves her as well as it has the last three generations.