It’s time for someone else to enjoy the bedroom suite my parents purchased circa 1964. At least that’s when I got their old dresser for my first-ever room of my own. They bought the old one when they set up housekeeping after the war, purchased from a hotel going out of business.

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I used that dresser for 48 years, until I moved back across the country six and a half years ago. My mother didn’t want me to take it back in 1976. “It’s mine,” she said. She finally relented, realizing it had become more mine than hers; and I began homemaking with it too.

I’ve changed its look twice. The first time I removed the blue-grey and Dijon-mustard marine deck paint my father covered the natural finish oak with; updating it. I reattached the mirror with the arms that of course he had kept for 30 years after altering the heavy mirror to hang on the wall, and changed the chrome knobs he put on in favor of something more in keeping with its original period. The second refurbish included painting the drawers and mirror frame black and changing the knobs again; updating it.

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The scrap of label on the back that I preserved when I refinished it. I assume they got it in Michigan, my father’s home state.

I guess my mother and I were both sentimental about it; I have kept it all these years. Now it has come out of storage and back into use, and I’m so happy to see it again. Someday, when she has room for it, I will make my daughter take it. My modest wardrobe doesn’t need that much room, and it has to stay in the family. (Heirlooms are hell.)

Meanwhile the Early American reproduction dresser and mirror, along with bedside tables and bed, have been donated for use by someone who will, I hope, be as ecstatic to have them as I expect my mother was. There was a lump in my throat when the guys from the charity carried it out. It’s the bed I crawled into when I had a bad dream, next to my mother on the far side. It’s the bed my parents slept in together for 30 years. It’s the bed she died in.

The chair my mother rocked her babies in stays with me.

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8 thoughts on “MeMoRy MoNdAy: Another Goodbye

  1. I just love the detail on that rocker ! I wonder why we gravitate to the wooden bones of our lives ? I have a small hall/telephone table that my grandmother had in her hallway for all the years I knew her. It matches nothing. I have no room for it. And yet I can’t imagine not keeping it in my orbit forever and ever. I love seeing these artifacts of your life and even more, I love hearing the stories. Thank you.

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    1. Wood endures, even beyond our bones. My aunt gave me the small drop leaf table that had been my German great-grandmother’s (it’s in the Airbnb). Perhaps she brought it with her on the ship, I’m not sure, and now there is no one left to tell me. I treasure it.

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  2. The old ones are so beautiful. The “new” ones . . . meh. Our 35-year-old originally unfinished round oak table is being exchanged for money tomorrow (less than it’s worth, I’m guessing). It’s the one our children were raised at, but they have no sentimental bones in their body. And I’m thrilled to have the one our father ate at for 21 years. Still holding out for real money for the antique chairs. We’ll call it down-sizing since we’ve been living around the extra table for over a year!

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  3. When I sold the contents of my mother’s house, the bedroom set went to a young couple. As the husband and wife were carrying out the dressing table, I chatted with the older woman with them, found she was the mother of the young woman. I told her the set had been my mother’s Bedroom set as a teenager and that my parents had slept together in the bed for 35 years, held each other at night and said the Lords Prayer together. And at the end of my father’s life, he confessed that some days they had not talked to each other all day. But in honoring the commitment from the first year of marriage to pray together, one of them would apologize.

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    1. What a sweet story. Thank you for sharing it. My parents slept separately the last few years of their marriage because my dad snored (so did my mother). But I think every morning he came from the guest room to join her in their bed.

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