I’m so happy that some things from my family have been preserved. Some families don’t or can’t keep older things for whatever reason. This plank bottom chair and cherry drop leaf table both came from my mother’s father’s side of the family. The chair and another like it (that I also have) were in my grandfather’s home as he was growing up. My mother said that he and his brothers and sisters did their homework from school at the table.
My mother gave me the chair years ago, rough looking with old varnish on it. I was into refinishing things years ago and stripped it and used a good tung oil varnish on it. The table was sitting in my mother’s basement for many years, and at one time I mentioned I was going looking for an old table. She asked why I didn’t just get that old black thing down in the basement. Then she told me of its history. It was almost black, with a varnish used many years ago, a varnish that tended to get darker and bubble as it got older. I also stripped it and refinished it, and now both pieces are beautiful. The table top has nicks and dings; those are character. My grandfather and his siblings probably made those dings. I like the character of old things, and I’d much rather have this one with a family story than any other old one, and especially like it more than something new. Kids want new shiny stuff, but I’m old myself and appreciate the care that was taken with craftsmanship years ago, and the history that goes with those things.
Now I use them back together again. Nostalgia, having history, considering your own mortality as you get older, just liking antiques, call it what you will, but I like the concept. I’m privileged to be able to have things from my family’s past.
Here’s a picture of my grandfather, John Kessinger, and his parents when he was about 8 years old, in about 1918. I didn’t really get to know him much cos he died when I was 4 years old. Maybe he’s smiling somewhere if he knows that his granddaughter enjoys knowing things about him this way.