Sunday, November 15, 2015

TToT99: New (Old) Furniture

I like old furniture. I don't care if it "goes together." I have a theory that I learned from a beloved aunt and uncle. If you love it, if it contains history, and is important to you, it belongs. That's how I decorate. Matching is for those with money and taste. I just want to be surrounded by what I love. And this weekend, thanks to my loving mama, I have four new (old) pieces of furniture to love. So if you will indulge me, a small history of each piece:



The twin beds. My maternal grandmother (whom I resemble, don'cha think?) bought these in fifties for her daughters (my mother and aunt). The beds moved from IA to TX sometime in the 80s, and my sister and I slept in them through most of our childhoods. Now my children get them. The headboards will once again hold everything from board books to chapter books, stuffed animals to china figurines. A little girl and a little boy will hold their treasures close behind those sliding doors and be able to reach books late at night or early in the morning.







The Mom bookcase/desk. The mirror is missing, yes, and it still shows the water stains from the great hurricane that hit Port Arthur in 1915 (back before they had names) that caused my newly married great grandmother and her husband to evacuate to a downtown hotel. I suppose she was called Vera in those days, but in my lifetime (and long before) everyone, young or old, related or not, called her Mom (and that's her in the picture feeding sweet baby me a muffin). When her grandchildren visited they played "judge" with a gavel from the desk. My parents inherited it when my great-grandmother moved into an apartment. Now in my house it will hold games, and (perhaps in my dreams) be a homework spot in future days of more independence. Maybe I'll get a new mirror for it.

The Sarah Ellen hutch. That's my name: Sarah Ellen. But there's another Sarah Ellen on the left. She and her husband (who, incidentally, was married to a different Sarah Ellen before this one) moved to North Texas from Western Tennessee with this hutch (and other belongings) when a doctor told them he thought my great-great-grandfather's health (poor since his time in Rock Island POW camp) would be better in a dryer climate. Their oldest daughter (my great-grandmother) inherited it, and my mother recalls playing game with cousins on the floor before it, both frightened and drawn to the carved lion head between the cabinet doors. A cousin kept it for many years and refinished it beautifully before giving it to my mother a few years ago. And now I own it, as seems appropriate.

All my life I have been told, "You come from a long line of strong women, Sarah." Several years ago, I asked for and was given a pendant with the first and middle names of the strong women from whom I am descended (not enough room to go as far back as Sarah Ellen, sadly): Maria, Mary Rebecca, Lillie Dale, Vera Inez, Dorothy Vera, Ruth Ellene, and Mary Ellen. I wear it around my neck always.

And now I can remember them through the furniture they saved and treasured and hauled across the country. They are around me.



P.S. Dyanne, is this granny chic?

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16 comments :

  1. i LOVE the new/old furniture and the strong women pendant...all of this.
    We are so missing each other lately, aren't we? We need a good chat. xo

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  2. They look all nice to me, and they have history that matters to you.

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  3. What a beautiful read, Sarah. And yes, you definitely look like your grandmother. It is wonderful to have the history and the furniture that goes with it. I have some furniture pieces from grandmothers and great-aunts on my husbands side. I touch them and imagine stories like the ones you've told. BTW, I'm using clamber (as in clamber up the steps) in my novel. Always thinking of you.

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    1. I know you are likely to feel a similar way about furniture, Val. I'm so excited clamber makes you think of me!!

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  4. My mom has her grandmother's dining room set. She used to play underneath it as a girl and now my nephews and niece do.
    :-)
    Furniture tells the stories of the past and it's wonderful that all of this means so much to you.

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    1. Yes, I think so too. I am glad your mother has her heirloom too.

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  5. Wonderful!! I love all the furniture you got, and the stories to go with them. You do look a lot like your grandma. Those genes are strong, just like the women themselves.

    We have a few pieces of furniture from family. A chair at our dining room table and some dressers to be exact. We also have lots of smaller things we keep in a cabinet, like my grandpa's police badge. I never met him, as he died when my mom was 13. One of my favorite things, though, is a wooden porch swing we have. My paternal grandparents and Bryan's maternal grandparents both spent time swinging on it. My grandpa and his grandma were in the same high school class, and the four (future) grandparents hang out together sometimes when they were young and childless.

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    1. How cool that your grandparents were friends with each other! How wonderful to still have the porch swing. And impressive too since I think of porch swings falling apart since they are so often exposed to the elements.
      I have lots of little things too. Probably too many. Last week, I broke a glass from a set my maternal grandfather used for his "mix," his before dinner drink. It's the only one I had, and I cried.

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  6. That hutch!! OMG, I want!! What cool furniture pieces!! - www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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  7. This post was so much fun to read. I love old furniture, but the especially the stories behind the pieces. How wonderful that you have these. Whatever item one has that belonged to an ancestor keeps them forever in remembrance. That hutch is gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks so much, Pat. I would imagine you would feel the same as I.

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