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.
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.
So here's what I did with it.
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!