Saturday, March 1, 2014
The (Not So) True Story Behind...This Spanish Chair
The fun part about owning a vintage/antique furniture store is that you get a lot of pieces with significant histories and backgrounds. Sometimes, though, like in the case of this beautifully carved Spanish chair circa 1875, we know nothing about it except its estimated date of manufacturing...
Soooooo...we were inspired to make up a story for it...and what follows is the (not so) true story of this handsome piece of furniture...enjoy!
Father always read to us, as far back as I can remember. My sister, Collette, and I at his feet. The windows open. A warm Savannah breeze whipping through the room.
He'd read us Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Jane Austen. Sweeping, romantic epics that flew well over our young heads. And we ate every word of them. Gobbled up every simile. Chewed on every metaphor. And, at the end of the night, headed to our rooms. Our bellies, and our minds, filled to the brim with literary adventures.
This was before the first Great War. Maybe two or three years before father shipped out to France. And every night for those two or three years, he read. And we sat. We knew about the Lusitania. We knew about the conflict in Europe and felt innocently secure in the distance between that war and our Savannah home. Naively, ironically, tragically innocent.
My grandmother, an proud Irish immigrant, told Collette and I that America would never go to war in support of the Brits. And she was old. And we were young. And we believed. Father would never go to war because America would never go to war. Because Grandmother told us so.
In May of 1917, father shipped out. I read to Collette the night he left like a dutiful big sister. I was fourteen and I was terribly brilliant, but Shakespeare/Tolstoy/Austen still gave me (and undoubtedly Collette) a run for our money. But at least it kept us preoccupied. Mentally.
Father was gone for one year when we received a large package at our door. Grandmother signed for it from the rather relieved deliveryman. He tore the large box apart, board by board on our front stoop. Nails and splinters chipped away at the freshly painted porch. Father would not be very happy with this deliveryman, I thought.
Collette, I remember, thought it might be father in the box. I laughed at little Collette. And then secretly wished that it was him. And as the final boards came off, I held my breath and clinched my eyes shut...a small prayer escaped my lips before I opened my eyes to what was assuredly not my father.
Before us, amidst the debris of box and nails, was a spectacular chair. Carved wood. Leather seat. Spanish details. Such a charming magnificent piece of furniture. And on the chair, a note.
"My dearest children, I cannot wait to return to you and return to our literary adventures. Sit in this chair and remember me until I am home. Love, Father."
In October of 1918, another large delivery arrived. It was the remains of father. Fallen in combat.
Labels: The Story Behind