This is a post about retro furniture…well way retro furniture…that sort that falls under antiques in most people’s books.

I have a spool bed. It looks like this except…it is missing a spindle. It is missing a spindle because I wiggled it like a loose tooth until it broke when I was a child. We don’t currently use this bed. Most members of this family don’t see why anyone would use this headboard. It is scratched. It has paint flecks. It only fits a “3/4” bed. But, it is the bed I spent most of my childhood in. It is the bed that I would lay down with my babies in at night. It has a story every time I look at it.

I have a rococo camel back couch. It is stripped down to duckcloth and a little padding. It needs to be reupholstered again. It lived in my mother’s living room my entire life before it came to live at my house. As a child, it was covered in blue velvet with buttons. It has a flower carving that attaches to the top of the sofa. I ran my fingers over it a million times, fidgeting as a child. I also polished it once a week. The right side of it, when you sit on it…that is where Santa left my presents each Christmas. It has lived in my garage, waiting for me to love it again.

There is a slab of marble from a table in my mother’s living room. The table that supported it broke at some point. The legs were spindly and not helped by being hit by vacuum cleaners, run under, over, and through by dogs, cats and yes, me. My mom put it on one of those plaster pedestals that some folks use for coffee tables or end tables when the legs to the table couldn’t be repaired.

There is a pair of chairs… a ladies and gentleman’s chair. They look rather like the ones in that picture. They were my great-grandmother’s. They came to my parent’s living room when she passed away. I sat in them many an hour talking with my parents, my friends, my mother’s friends. They have lived in my garage since the chairs moved here.

Then there are the empire mahogany pieces…two sideboards, a gentleman’s dresser, a dining room table. These also came to live with us after my great-grandmother passed away. One sideboard lives in the dining room with the table. One sideboard lives in the Florida room. The gentleman’s dresser lives in the Florida room. They have seen some random use.

There is a secretary…black painted wood. It is newer…though not “new.” It is also incredibly simple. Three drawers, the flip out desk, interesting cubbies where I found old receipts, love notes, etc. Above that are shelves with glass doors. “Lawyers shelves” my mother called them. I kept my Aunt Caroline’s dog collection in there.

I have a dresser. Flame wood veneer. Missing pieces of veneer. Huge mirror. Then the dark cherry four post bed. Cracked headboard, doesn’t fit any normal American mattress.

I have an armoire. Refinished in 100 degree heat with blood, sweat, chemical burns and tears by a daddy who loved me. Oak. Heavy as sin.

Then there are incidental pieces, a washstand, an oval side table. There are even two pieces I don’t love…my great grandmother’s dressing table, with the broken drawer, and the broken marble top. A yellow gentleman’s chair.

The problem is…we need to load a truck and move. My furniture is big.


  1. Could we just lose the broken marble? And the washstand? The broken velvet covered stool or whatever that is out in the garage?

  2. Did you write this just to convince Denise to move these things with you, or may I chime in?

    I don’t see things the way you do… physical stuff means nothing to me.

    I would get rid of it all. πŸ™‚

    But this was beautifully written, and I totally get why you are attached to these items.

    Good luck with the move.

  3. I thought my physical stuff meant nothing to me. Then when the freecycle people thought my stuff was not new/nice enough to take – for free – I had to leave it out and it rained and then the garbage men took the stuff and then… I could not watch.

  4. Yes, well, we can let the boys sell the broken marble with the dressing table it goes with. The velvet stool can go with the secretary. I think that is what it really belongs to, not my desk, which is what I always used it for. We have discussed the washstand and my idea for it.

    Vered-No, I didn’t figure she would actually read my post because we are busy. I wrote it because I had to write it.

    I think the furniture thing is sort of a quasi cultural family thing. Most of the furniture has been in my mother’s family since it was made in the 1800s. I have no grandparents. I have no extended family that I am close to. My father passed away over a decade ago. My mother is in incredibly frail health, is losing her memory, and lives far away. My sisters don’t live close either, one is disabled and in precarious health, spends more of her time in the hospital than not. My other sister…we email but don’t have a deep relationship or see each other for years on end…just a few times since I left home 20 years ago. We don’t live where I grew up. I have no “life-long friends”. (though plenty of friends…just none that I grew up with and still am in regular contact with)

    The furniture is all about roots and history and family for me. It holds on to those memories in the absence of photos, of video, of people to tell me the stories. It isn’t actually the object, just the totem that keeps me rooted. If you can buy it in a store, I am happy to toss it away in moments. But, it comes down to the song I sing with/to my kids

    Anything, anywhere
    I would give everything I own away

    But in the same song…

    Too bad
    The best love hurts so much

  5. Your comment was even more beautiful than your original post.

    I do get it. Also what clickmichelle said – that sometimes you THINK you are not attached to stuff when in fact you are.

    “The best love hurts so much” – I wish it weren’t true but it is, isn’t it? And families are always so complicated.

    This moving thing – not easy. You’ll feel better in a few weeks. I hope you get to take as much of the things that you love with you.

  6. Its a long boring day. Thanks for giving me something interesting to read. As vered said ur comment was really nice and touching. Hope everything is going well by now.

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