It’s Just A Chair

I walked by this chair I don’t know how many times.  Not paying it much attention, if any at all.   Then my uncle made it valuable.   His great grandfather made it.  By hand.  My great great grandfather.  It’s likely pushing 200 years old.  It’s a solid little chair.  Nothing fancy.  And not very big.

Just A Chair

It’s painted brown.  But I can look past that.  I can turn it over and see the plain wood.  And I can see almost 200 years of nicks and scratches.   I can see the hands that carved out the spindles.  Smoothed out the wood.  Shaped and pieced together a sturdy little piece of furniture.

But I can see past even that.

And imagine the homes it has sat in.  And the persons who have sat in it.  My great great grandfather?  My great great grandmother? Their children.  Their children.  Their children.  Friends and other relatives.


My History In A Chair

How many discussions were had or heard while sitting in this chair?  This chair existed in family homes when the family homes did not have electric.  Or bathrooms.   No telephones.   How many sighs escaped the seated.   How many deep chuckles rumbled.   How many secrets heard.  Were meals eaten while sitting here?   How many times were weary feet released from work boots.  How many moments where elbows rested on knees and breaths escaped.   Or prayers silently prayed.

And beyond this.

I wonder.

If I stand behind the chair.

Not Just A Chair

Can I feel, absorb, imagine the history of my family.   As they sat through the years.  As this chair sat through their lives.

 I won’t walk by this chair ever again.  Without touching it.  Hoping to feel all of the lives that have touched it before me.

This valuable, valuable, chair.

46 thoughts on “It’s Just A Chair

  1. Isn’t it wonderful to have such pieces of past lives living with us? Our house was built in 1926 and I love to imagine who lived there and all the stories it could tell if the walls could talk. It hurts when someone tears down one of the old homes in our neighborhood and puts up a generic, fairly ugly new home. All those good stories, lost . . .


    • 😦 that makes me sad. I would rather see an old house sit empty and be open to other’s imaginations and curiosities then torn down and lost. I know what you mean by imagining. I sometimes wish for a snapshot of vision in to those past lives.


      • It makes me sad, too. So many of the old homes have been torn down for truly ugly new ones that don’t fit in with the houses around them. They are three times the size of the old houses and are very generic. I would rather see something ultra-modern and unique than the generic ones (but would rather they fix up the old ones than tear them down).


        • I love to see a neighborhood being rejuvinated by people coming in and building back up what is already there. There’s something to be said for adding life to the history of what we have. We need to stop throwing away what is here.


  2. This chair is no antique. No offense, behindthemask commenter above, but that label so much undervalues this chair. It is an heirloom. You are so lucky to be among the long line of your family that have parked themselves on this sturdy little chair, Colleen. And you value it, obviously. Thank you for sharing again.


    • Can you imagine the events that were lived through in those chairs? And the fact that hands we “know” made them. It just amazes me. From years ago….our ancestors have provided us a foundation, and a seat.


    • You’re right about that. Companies make things to NOT last so customers will return. Silly companies. I am going to buy from the company that makes things to last. Too bad my GGGF didn’t open a company making chairs! 😉


  3. Colleen, What a wonderful post, I have quilts that my mom hand made, and I have a 3 legged cake plate from my grandmothers house, who supposively got it from her mom. Those are the heirlooms I have, this post makes me wonder what something special my daughter will calm when I am gone. Thank you for sharing your heirloom. Bill


  4. I have a table passed on to me…it goes back at least one hundred years in our family, I have no clue how old it really it. If that table could talk….Wonderful article, Chatter.


    • Thank you Heart! 🙂 I wonder how many letters, or grocery lists, or to do lists, or homework papers, were completed on that table. 🙂 We had a dining room table that faint etchings of my brothers homework writing on it.


      • isn’t it sweet! underneath this table, which is a fairly valuable antique, the words “Will was here” is scratched…things never change.


          • That astounding! lucky girl. I love this kind of stuff. I have visited old cemeteries…maudlin, huh? My own family cemetery has graves from the revolutionary war!
            It really makes you want to know the history behind these objects, writing, and even ….yep, gravesites.


            • Not maudlin at all!!!!!! My husband and I love cemeteries and we get the oddest looks from people when we say it. But we love the stories on the stones. Or the imagining of the stories. 🙂 Heart your family cemetery sounds fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  5. As I read this post I could see what you were seeing but with my mind’s eyes. This piece is a excellent essay that should be in a literary magazine.


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