Monday, February 28, 2005

my mom's library table

My maternal grandfather had five surviving children.  He made each of them a walnut library table that they could take with them, when they married and left home.  He wasn't a great craftsman, and I doubt this plain piece of furniture would be worth much to anyone outside the family, or even to those in my family; but to me, it's special.

I grew up with this thing.  I imagine I first pulled myself up on that bottom shelf, as a toddler.  I recall dusting it as a child, and sometimes using it as a desk.  As far back as I can go in my memory, the library table was there.  I don't know when Grandpa made it, but I know Mother took it with her to set up housekeeping, when she married Daddy, in 1932. 

It used to have a thick coat of varnish; I stripped it many years ago, wanting the beauty of the natural wood to show.  The trouble is, it sat under a chimney upstairs where the roof leaked, so now it has dark stains on it.  And from some years of my own neglect, it began to dry out badly.  But it's responding, now, to Old English lemon oil applications I give it once a month or so.  I suppose, really, the stains just add to its character.

Perhaps we aren't supposed to "love" inanimate objects.  But I confess, I love my mom's library table.  Oh, if it could only talk, the tales it could tell! 

12 comments:

barbpinion said...

Well maybe we're not supposed to love inanimate objects, but like you, I treasure having things I grew up with. The table is lovely. Wish I could hear some of the stories it's hiding. *Barb* http://journals.aol.com/barbpinion/HEYLETSTALK

firestormkids04 said...

I think it's lovely!  I, too, have cherished items from my youth - none this big, unfortunately, but still as loved.  Penny

jeanno43 said...

I think it is wonderful.  Things like this are priceless because they hold so many memories.  It does not matter what it looks like, you love it and that is what counts.

csandhollow said...

It is beautiful!

ryanagi said...

I disagree! I think your Grandpa was a wonderful craftsman. It's a charming piece!

marainey1 said...

One of my grandmothers had a library table too !  You'd don't hear much about them any more.  I don't know what happened to it, but I'll never forget how special it was.  It always had a fresh crocheted doily on it and the family Bible.  Course my grandma made the doily.  Thanks for the memories today !  'On Ya'  -ma

tendernoggle said...

Oh my, It is beautiful.........and you are right; there is nothing like OLD ENGLISH! I know  you love it as a cherished piece of your childhood!
Hugs,
Carlene

plieck30 said...

I think most people have an inanimate object that we "love". I know I do. Mine is an iron bed with the tall head board left to us by my husband's grandmother. Yours is a beautiful table. Paula

toonguykc said...

It's perfectly cool to love a physical "object".  It is made of molecules and atoms just like the rest of us....who's to say it isn't also alive in the scientific sense??

Russ

bnanajm said...

In my garage, hidden behind a stack of junk, I have my Mom's sewing cabinet complete with flip top and spindles for spools of thread.  Many years ago, I found a Mother's Day card I gave her, made in my Sunday school class.  I was amazed to find it hidden there and then embarassed that I had never opened the cabinet.  Like yours, it needs to be stripped and redone.  Maybe when I retire.................

These old things are alive.  Alive with memories.

Bnana

gypsytrader49 said...

These wonderful "things" are History. And sometimes I feel like just touching them feels wonderful as if suddenly you are infused with their old messages. It's a magical feeling for me. I love old stuff.

simwarford said...

My grandmother's library table has been a fixture in my house(s) and life for, well, all my life. It was a wedding gift, along with two rocking chairs and an oil lamp (I have one of the chairs, and the lamp, as well) back in 1901. It's a dark tiger oak with paw feet. I've never refinished it, and have decided not to; maybe a low-gloss varnish to protect it--and regular feedings with lemon oil (thank you for reminding me! I haven't done that for way too long).
I don't know if it's ever served the purpose for which it was intended; it sat in her parlor until the house was sold after she died, then aunt Lori took it to the lake house where she put it in her bedroom--and it basically just took up space. She gave it to me, and my mother put it to use in the laundry room! To fold clothes on, mind you. She was most annoyed when I claimed it.
I've used it, alternately, as an entertainment center, sideboard, and even, with the shelf removed, as a dining table. It's a sideboard right now, but when I move in my folks' (and grandparents' before that) dining room suite, it get's to become an entertainment center again. You just can't beat the versatility!