Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remember Whensday: "The Chair" and other Memories

I have no recollection of this Christmas when I was three, almost four, but the picture evokes many memories of my childhood. This is Grandma's living room, a room in which I spent many, many happy hours.

In this picture Mom is playing the piano, something she still enjoys doing to this day. She was a kindergarten teacher and was required to have a Grade 8 piano certificate in order to teach at this level. She had a rhythm band for children, a collection of wooden sticks, blocks, tambourines and bells which we used to accompany her music. I am holding one of the tambourines and my cousin on the left is undoubtedly using another instrument.

My great-grandmother "Bobby" is sitting in a chintz covered wing-backed chair in the left of the picture. That chair was my favourite and I would sit in it, my head wedged in the left wing with both legs dangling over the right armrest. The chair was next to Grandma's built-in bookshelves by the fireplace and I spent hours reading books from her personal library. The chair reminds me of authors such as Thornton Burgess, Emily Carr, Pauline Johnson, Willa Cather, Nellie McClung, and Louis Hémon. When Grandma died in 1990, I took many of her books and the wing-backed chair. It was covered in a gold fabric by then and it has been in my living room for almost twenty years.

Yesterday an Irish upholsterer with a thick brogue carried "the chair" out the door to his shop where he will re-cover it in the selected green tweed material.

"It is a good chair," he said after checking the joints and supports, "but the cushion springs will have to be replaced."

Yes, it is a good chair and I am not surprised that the seat cushion needs to be replaced. Perhaps I will find a chintzy slip cover sometime and re-read Grandma's collection of Canadian authors pretending that I am ten or twelve or sixteen years old again. Or perhaps I will just continue making new memories on this special old chair.

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  1. Lovely photo and memories! It's great that you still have your grandmother's chair and that you're keeping it up-to-date.

  2. How wonderful that you have that very chair and are refurbishing it.

  3. Isn't it funny how something so simple, like the chair, can be such a huge part of your life. That chair, if it could talk would have so many wonderful stories to share. What a fabulous heirloom piece you have. I wouldn't be able to throw it out either. I bet you still curl up in that chair with a good book.

  4. Mexico Mom8:42 pm GMT-5

    My memories go back to so many wonderful times through generations in that chair. The person sitting in the chair is "Bobby" Granddad Devins Mother. Beside you is Linda (Devins) Roberts your 1st cousin, 5 months your senior.toune

  5. Thanks Mom for identifying great grandmother Bobby. I had no mental image of her at all. I did recognize Linda and Sandra.

  6. How wonderful to grow up with music around you.
    Chairs just aren't made with the same quality. I love that you still have this chair full of memories. What a great place to read. And it gets a face lift once in a while. This is a marvelous memory.

  7. It's amazing how a piece of furniture can evoke such memory! It's a feeling, a sense of well-being...a far off place and time that feels so familiar but almost a lifetime ago in the same breath. Great picture.

  8. This photo is a gem, I can picture your mum playing beautiful music, and you all singing beautifully, and Great grand ma "paki-Paki" Maori word for clapping.

  9. What special memories Ruth... and how wonderful that you got to keep "the chair."


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