Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Moving furniture

My parents went to visit my Grandpa this past weekend. We sent them in our minivan so that they could bring home furniture. That sounds so weird. But the side of the house that used to be Grandma and Grandpa's is slated to be turned into a garage and work area...so everything must go and we're picking through the stuff like strangers at a garage sale. We each have decided to take certain pieces and we're all coordinating the big move across states to get each one where it needs to go.

So my parents took the minivan and loaded up three pieces for me. Grandma's hutch is now in my bedroom. It will eventually sit in the common area in our new second floor addition...as soon as we get it painted and get the flooring installed (we were supposed to do that this past weekend but I wasn't feeling up to par, so we're delaying plans for a week or so).

Years of growing up have a strange effect on the size of furniture. The three pieces were sitting in the minivan...with loads of room to spare. Funny. I remember them as bigger than that...the wall cabinet, the dresser, and the hutch...actually small enough that two of the three could be carried by one person without assistance.

And then there was the color...

My memory remembered it as green, so I was slightly surprised to find the hutch is painted gold. But the discovery of its true color...and the matching gold of the dresser and the table...made me giggle a little bit too. Now that I think of it, Grandma painted a lot of things gold. Grandma thought some gold paint made things fancier, I suppose. Grandma loved fancy things. Even if she never used most of her fancy things, but rather "“saved them for good."

Almost two states away, you can still see the dusty outlines where each egg of Grandma's egg collection sat on each shelf of the gold painted hutch. Grandma was a fan of Faberge eggs and that somehow translated into her very own little collection of pretty glassporcelain/porcelin eggs. And I, being completely disoriented by this entire episode of my life, can't bring myself to dust the gold painted hutch. I want to run back to my aunt and ask for all the pretty little eggs so that I can put them all back in their places. As if righting the egg collection will somehow make this whole scene right. But I don't need, nor do I really want, a dusty collection of pretty little eggs. What I want is gone forever. So I will dust off the outlines of the egg collection and move forward.

Do I refinish it? The gold paint is well worn off the right front corner of the dresser base for the hutch. Grandma or Grandpa would sit in the chair at the head of the dining room table and use that corner to hoist themselves up. Years of pushing themselves to a standing position are etched right there...worn into the wood like a recording of the lives that happened in that dining room. How do I sand that away? I suppose I could live with gold paint...

...but no. The little hutch will be refinished...and I will most likely cry while I do the work. No gold paint for me. No egg collection. Life moves forward.

I miss you Grandma.


Anonymous said...

I would record how they are right now with a camera. Of course, you will never forget, but someday someone will be looking at your photo-album and you can recall this moment and all the moments that led to it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this was a really beautiful and touching post. It's amazing how much our memories can change over the years. Even if you revamp those pieces you'll never forget the story and in a way you'll be preparing them for your chance to add to their history. What wonderful family heirlooms.