The other day, I got my grandfather’s rocking chair back. After a long wait, it was finally restored and ready to use again. This old chair has a history and some stories to tell.
It all started for me last fall, when the upcoming birth of my granddaughter amped up my desire to rescue the chair from its run-down condition. And it did need rescuing. The caning in the seat was destroyed years ago. The caning in the back was more-or-less intact, but many years of sitting in a barn weakened it to the point it also needed replacing. Add in the general TLC needed after those years in the barn, plus a wonky connection between an arm and the back, and the chair definitely needed some love.
I found a small furniture restoration company not too far away which came highly recommended. My husband and I took the chair there, and made arrangements for the owner to clean the chair, fix the loose arm and give it a new coat of protective finish. When he was done, it would go to another small business which specializes in caning to replace the seat and back.
It took much longer than I expected to get the completed chair back, but the long wait was worth it. When I look at the chair now, I remember my mother’s stories about her father. He bought this chair with the first $20 bill he earned delivering mail in the rural south. My grandfather kept this chair on the concrete porch of their house, and rocked and napped in it on Sunday afternoons while his children played. Once he was settled in the chair, the children’s voices never disturbed him – unless they suddenly started whispering. Then his eyes popped open to see what they were up to!
If you look closely at the photo, you can see the rockers are worn down from that rough concrete porch. This old chair doesn’t rock very well anymore. But the next time my little granddaughter comes to visit, I’m still going to give it a try.
This week, I’m doing another installment of “If These Walls Could Talk.” Take a look at this little house. What is its history? What stories of laughter, joy, romance, even sadness or sorrow, have soaked into its walls along with the salt spray?
It sits, quite alone, on a rather isolated stretch of shore. In addition, the water is at some distance behind the house. The structure is nowhere near the beach or shoreline, where one might expect it to be located. This makes me wonder how someone chose this exact spot for it. What made someone stop in the midst of the tall sea grasses and say, “Right here. This is where I will build my house.”?
Also, this isn’t a very big house. I suspect it was pared down to be quite utilitarian inside, much like the outside. I noticed the roof has a slant to protect the house from the winds coming in off the water. The shingle siding I would guess was probably a common, available, practical option when the house was constructed.
However, to me, the most striking thing about this photo is the large American flag flying on a jury-rigged pole next to the house. For one thing, it provides the only spot of color next to the weathered house and dry grasses. But it also announces to anyone who might wander into its general vicinity that the owner of this humble little home is a proud American.
I suspect this little house has many stories it could tell. Over the years and through the storms, it has saved them all up, waiting for someone to ask. Indeed, it is quite easy to let my writer’s imagination start spinning my own versions of the stories this little beach house could tell, if these walls could talk. What stories do you think it would tell?
I finally caught up with some summer chores this weekend. I think I was about a month behind normal. Luckily, I can enjoy the fruits of my labor now.
My first task was to get our sun room set up. Some of my writing friends know we have a lovely room on the back of our house with windows on three sides. It looks out on our lawn, and is a peaceful place to enjoy a summer day. During the winter, we store our patio and porch furniture in the sun room, so I always have to wait to set it up until after those items have been hauled back out and put where they belong for the summer season. Once the room is emptied, it takes me some time to get it cleaned up, after it has not been used for many months.
But once the hauling and the cleaning are done, it is a great place to sit and read. Or, as the above mentioned writing friends know, to sit and write. In the past, I have hosted day-long writing sessions which always seem to end up in the sun room. I would like to host another such writing day this summer. But given how quickly the days are slipping away, I don’t know if I will squeeze one in.
My other task was weeding a large flower bed near the sun room. I was spurred to do this when I realized a small rose bush was blooming, but I could barely see the blossoms because other nearby plants were out of control. Now, the other plants have either been trimmed back or pulled out entirely if they don’t belong, and the garden looks much better.
I received another reminder (in addition to the rose bush) of how quickly summer is passing when I looked at some of the other plants. We have several Jack-in-the-Pulpits growing in the flower bed. (These are an odd-looking type of woodland wildflower which grows in the Midwest.) I enjoy looking at “Jack” each year, but this year I was too late. The “Jacks” are already done blooming and have gone to seed. I console myself with hoping this means we will have more “Jack’s” to enjoy next year.
Am I the only person who is behind on summer chores? I am blaming the cold, rainy weather we had most of the spring. However, I console myself with knowing I still have at least two months to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Once I post this, perhaps I will go sit in the sun room and look out at the flowers.
I write historical fiction, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.