Thursday, February 26, 2015

An Oldie but a Goodie

No, sweet husband of mine, I'm not talking about you.  I would never call you "old"--because if I did, I would have to apply the same adjective to myself.  (Readers, the hubby and I are exactly the same age...or I should say basically the same age, because he IS a month and six days my senior...)

So we've established that this post isn't going to be a love letter to my best guy.

What it IS going to be is a love letter to family traditions, memories, and heirlooms--with a nod to that old New England adage that goes, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without."  It's also going to illustrate how long I tend to hold onto things, particularly if they've played an important role in the life of my family.  And what piece of furniture could possibly play a bigger role in a family's daily routine than a kitchen table?  (Don't answer that; I was getting all rhetorical with you there.)

When my husband and I were two bright-eyed 25-year-olds with a new baby, we bought our first house (a sweet little three-bedroom ranch).  Shortly afterward, we purchased a round drop-leaf oak table at the unfinished furniture store and gave a it a golden finish.  Our family was small back in those days when we lived in that FL ranch  (and one boy--or sometimes two--was always using a high chair), so it was plenty big enough for us at the time.  It fit perfectly in our somewhat cramped breakfast nook area off the kitchen.

Here's a 1985 picture of my oldest son sitting at this table on his second birthday, joined by two of his older buddies (with his almost nine-month-old brother in the high chair in the foreground and another younger brother in utero in his mom), getting ready to blow out the candle on his Cookie Monster cake.
The chairs were a mish-mash of hand-me-downs from my in-laws and consignment shop finds, but I think I like the mismatched look better anyway.  (Eclectic, that's it--that's my style.)

We used this little round oak table until we outgrew it.  By the time we bought our "forever home" in NH, it was relegated to a side wall in the basement, with one leaf down--making room for a bigger kitchen table to handle our bigger family.  Then when our #2 son moved into an apartment about an hour away from us and began his first teaching job, we gave it to him and he put it to good use for a few years.  (Not eating dinner on it, mind you; it was more of a catch-all--but no matter.)  When our boy got married and moved down to VA last year, that table came back to its original owners, like a boomerang.  I considered taking it to Goodwill, but I felt a strange attachment to it and decided I'd better hang onto it...just in case.

Well, it helped out a great deal at Christmastime, when all five boys, four daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren were staying under our grateful roof.  We dropped one leaf and pushed it up to the end of our long dining room table, and it gave us just enough extra seating.  That's it, at the far end in this photo.
I have not had time to take down our Christmas decorations yet, because we've been living mostly in VA since early January, with only quick trips north to take care of business and check on our house.  The only thing I've had the time or energy to pack away is our giant Nativity set.
But I did finally take the Christmas tablecloths off when we were home earlier this month, and I was going to move the drop-leaf table out of the room.  I thought about banishing it to the basement once again, but then I decided that since we have such a ginormous dining room (really, it's a monster--the kitchen could be bigger, but the dining room is something else), maybe I would keep it handy for the next time we all gather in that room.

So here's what I did with it.

I actually think this little table looks adorable here, nestled under the window.  I just may use it in the future for romantic candlelit dinners for two.  I'd simply have to pull it out from the wall a little bit, and then push it back when we're through with it.  Isn't it sweet?   (I'm not letting you answer "no"--so again, rhetorical.)

It just goes to show that if you buy well-made pieces, they will last forever.  Oak is pretty much indestructible.  This table is 30-plus years old now, and it has survived multiple moves completely intact.  And just when I thought we couldn't possibly need it anymore, it appears that we're going to be able to put it to very good use once again.  Yes, it's an oldie; but boy, is it a goodie.

It's the circle of life for this circle-shaped table: When our family was young and small, it was perfect for us, but we outgrew it; and now that our family is so much bigger, we need it all over again.

Do you have any pieces of furniture in your home that have special significance or sentimental value?  Do share!


  1. I love the little table by the window - I agree, so romantic! I have my grandmother's kitchen and table and chairs, which she gave us when she downsized from her house to a small apartment. She reupholstered the chairs, which gives them special sentimental value. Unfortunately, the kids are SO hard on them, so I do my best to keep them clean and non-gunky :-\ so that we can preserve them as long as possible.

    1. I LOVE hand-me-down furniture. My mom gave us our long dining room table and chairs (they're oak, very old), a set that had been in our house when I was growing up. She'd gotten it an estate sale for $200--which was a steal even back in the 70's. She decided I was the one of her five kids who should inherit it because I had the biggest family. Winning!

  2. Almost everything we have currently is either a hand me down, something we've had forever (hen I was 10 all I wanted for my birthday was a glider rocker to read in... lives in our living room.) or something we bought at Ikea. But still living at my parent's house is a hutch my great grandmother gave me (I am named after her) and her tea cup collection. I could have it now, it's gorgeous. But with littles I would worry about it being damaged or one of the tea cups breaking so I leave it there for now.

    I love your own little table for two! It's great!

    1. I love it--a glider rocker to read in for your birthday! I remember how thrilled I was when my mom let me have an old wicker chair for my room, and I painted it and covered the cushion with a material remnant. (We would have been great girlhood friends!) I still think comfy reading chairs are a must in any house.

      And your great-grandmother's hutch and tea cup collection--how wonderful! I'd take those sorts of things over something shiny and new any day of the week. :)

  3. Oh goodness I hope this does post six times! If it does the tale of a table never grows old right? My mom bought us a teak wood table from a thrift store 35years ago. It's been used as a dinner table, lesson planning table singing and dancing platform and THEN came the kids. It was the best rainy day toy ever. Tip it upside down add a steering wheel and it's a bus! Along come grand kids and it becomes a kid launcher to the couch, stage and upside down with a sheet it's CAMP MAURER! It would break my heart to ever get rid of that table!

    1. I could never get rid of such a table either!

      I love the idea of "CAMP MAURER"! When I was worrying about how we have no read "draw" to pull our boys and their families back home (like a lake or a pool out in the back yard), one of our boys suggested that every summer we can have "CAMP PAPA AND GRAMMY," where they'll come home and we'll take the kids to the beach, to Boston, to Red Sox games...but I think playing bus with that old round table is as fun an activity as any we could come up with!

      Nora, I always love seeing pictures of you with your kids and grandkids. What a beautiful, happy family you have created. :)