Sunday, March 22, 2009

Grandfather's Rocker

so big
to me
I was so

I can remember turning the rocker on its end so that I might slide down its back. Back then, the rocker was painted pure white, and had my name affixed proudly to its seat back in cursive letters. It seemed a long slide down to the floor, so I must have been only about a year old. I always say I can't remember much before the age of three, but this activity I remember with clarity. This little rocker has been in our family for a long time. It was my mothers and her three sisters long before it was mine. Her Grandfather made it for her, along with a little drop leaf table, a china hutch, and a set of drawers. All of these pieces were made back in the 40's and we are lucky enough to have gathered all the pieces here at Hawk's Run with the exception of the hutch. I grew up with both the rocker and the drop leaf table. The chest of drawers I had not known about until recently when my aunt asked if I would like to have it. Her own Grandchildren did not need it and she knew we used the other pieces every day. So one day she loaded the chest of drawers up in the back of her vehicle and made the drive down. I will forever be grateful. For years I have thought about the missing hutch with some degree of sadness. My mother's family moved from Indianapolis when she was an older girl and there was no room on the moving truck. To all the children's dismay, it was left behind. I have often wondered while roaming through antiques malls and various estate sales if the little hutches I have seen could be the hutch from Indianapolis, or one similar. The chances would be like finding a needle in a haystack, but I never lose hope of finding it someday. When my little sister outgrew the rocker it was stored in an attic for a lot of years. When I had my children it was brought back out, but it had suffered some damage to its finish from being stored away for so long. My husband, who is one of the best antique restorers I have ever seen, took it back to the original wood, and gave it a finish that looks as if it had been there for years. In most cases, we would never remove a paint finish, but we had no idea of the lead content of the original finishes, and since it was to be used by our children, we made an exception. The little table was also restored back to its original color and given the same age treatment. We are so fortunate to have these heirlooms in our home, and I think that my Great Grandfather would be pleased to know that we love them like we do. When Wren turned one, my Father in Law presented her with a Windsor rocking chair that he finished himself. She was so proud the day we put it in her bedroom. I wonder at times where these things will be three generations from now, in Wren's grandchildren's possession. It is a concept difficult for me to even grasp, much as it was probably for my mother's Grandfather. Teddy bears and dolls have been rocked, told stories to, been called to tea, and stored countless treasures over the years in the rocker, the table, and the dresser. I wish I knew the stories the hutch had to tell. Perhaps, one day, we will find out. It sure would be nice to have it home.

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