Fortunately, on that day, I discovered this gem of a dresser. It has four sizeable drawers and one fold-down desk area. The interesting carving on the top drawer (someone ringing a bell in front of a village?) just added to its appeal. I knew at the time that the dresser was in desperate need of stripping and revarnishing, but at that time in my life, I knew I had plenty of time and energy for a project like that.
But the years passed by, and I never did get to that project, overwhelmed by the prospect of all those hinges, drawers, and pigeonholes in the desk area. When we moved to MD, it (along with several other items of furniture) underwent some damage, and the desk drawer never could push in all the way. But the dresser got relegated to the basement guest room so it wasn't something I fretted over very often.
However, about two weeks ago I got one of the flares of passion and energy for a specific project and decided I'd pull out all the drawers to see just what the problem was. To my disappointment, I discovered that the dresser frame was not open and there was no way to see in to the desk compartment from either the drawer above or the drawer below.
Peering upwards in the dim drawer area under the desk, I found this treasure:
Fred and Ruth. So much "scope for the imagination," as Anne Shirley would have said. I guess it seems likely they were married in 1936, were Christian, and one died in 1989. Did they buy the dresser as young couple? Who wrote that inscription? What did he/she envision for it? Was it made in a moment of grief and/or did he/she hope someone like me would find it and wonder about Fred and Ruth and their relationship of the mid-20th century? I suppose Fred or Ruth ended his or her years in Western North Carolina. I suppose a relative or friends donated the dresser, having no use for it.
And as much as there are numerous choose-your-own adventure options within that one tame storyline, that storyline is, indeed, tame. There is so much more to imagine. How far has this dresser travelled? How many people have owned it? What grief and joy has it witnessed (and contained)?
I have spent and will continue to spend hours imagining the lives of Fred and Ruth and all the possible owners who came before or since. Besides the likelihood of the furniture being better made than furniture today, the main reason I love pre-owned furniture is the imaginary possibilities of its past. Worth ten in thankfuls any day.
And, hey, what do you imagine about Fred and Ruth?
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I Want Backsies, Mother of Imperfection, Rewritten, Thankful Me, The Wakefield Doctrine
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