When asked “What would you take from your house in case of a FIRE?” –
I have always replied – “My Loved ones and My photos”
This is still true BUT if I could also take ONE PIECE of furniture – it would be, without question – my Round Oak Coffee -Table.
WHY you ask?
To answer this question, to tell you WHY I would take my most treasured piece of furniture – the thing I would roll out of my house in a fire…and the piece which has followed me around every inch of my adult life – I FIRST need to tell you a little history.
The history of ME.
Lets go back in time to when I was Phoebe’s age (19) and it was Fall semester of my Sophomore year in college. I had not yet declared a major yet and was still taking basic studies – and just for fun – I enrolled in an acting class. See, I had always planned to pursue Acting as my career…but I had never considered “majoring” in it…that seemed ODD to me at the time. Still, I was itching to take a class – so I took “INTRO TO IMPROV”.
I LOVED Improv, I was hooked from day one and I found myself spending more and more time at the Theatre Department. One day, on the way to class..I saw a flyer on the bulletin board that had a big drawing of an APPLE and read “SPRING QUARTER IN THE BIG APPLE”.
It advertised kind of off-campus-study program where you studied the ARTs in NYC and applied your experience to classwork – writing papers on plays , visiting ART museums and describing paintings – and independent study etc.
My parents said “yes” and in April – I packed a trunk and headed to New York City.
I will never, as long as I live forget the day I arrived. It was as if I had lived my ALL my life to that point in a dream…waiting and knowing that there was someplace I belonged, some place that FIT me and I knew that when I found it I would KNOW. The second I stepped foot in Manhattan I was THERE. I was HOME and It was love at first sight and that love has never wavered.
We lived in the HOTEL IROQUOIS on East 48? st…right in the heart of Midtown. I gobbled up everything the city had to offer (this chapter is a book to be written), every day was an adventure and no moment was wasted. I saw every single show on Broadway that Spring and half the ones off-Broadway. I saw “A Chorus Line”, “Dankin” wth Ann Reinkin, I marveled at Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in “the Gin Game” and I saw Judd Hirsch in Chapter Two by Neil Simon. My Dad, who beared a striking resemblance to Neil Simon was even mistaken for the playwright at the Theater!
Oh there were two months of adventures and when the semester came to an end…I called my parents and said…
“I am not ready to come home – I want to stay here…I want to make this my home, now.”
As a mother NOW of a 19 year old daughter, I have to say, I give my parents a lot of credit for their confidence in me. they simply replied “Where will you live?”
I had a place, temporarily anyway, and after a few different jobs – which demand entire blog posts of their own to describe, I landed a Nanny job which came with my own studio apartment and weekends off to explore and waitress. I planned to start taking classes in the fall and proceeded devour every page of the city.
As the summer began to wind down and the Fall semester loomed ahead -I began to wonder if I shouldn’t go back and finish college…and THEN come back for good. Intuitively I knew that if I did not finish College now, that I might never finish and even if I did – I would never be college-age again…and so I transferred to Florida State University which had an incredible Theatre department. I got my BFA and then my MFA in theatre and THEN I moved BACK to New York.
When I returned, and before I had a place to live, the woman I had nannied for, invited me to live with her. By then she had moved to Long island. I would take the train into Manhattan everyday and look for apartments. Oh my, that process could be a movie…no kidding. The adventures I had! But I digress….
When I finally found my Apartment – I needed furniture –
and……she sold me her round oak dining table…which is STILL with me to this day.
The round oak table – was my dining table in New York, Boston and finally Virginia. It was my dining table when Damon and I moved in together and after we got married.
After we bought our first home, and as our family grew – we began to outgrown the round table for 4 and as a housewarming gift – my father gave us a beautiful expanding pine dining table and chairs from Pottery Barn.
I could not part with my cherished dining table and since I had always wanted a round coffee table – I had the dining table cut down to Coffee – Table size. Phoebe and Cooper learned to walk – cruising around that table – round coffee tables have no sharp corners and they fit perfectly in front sofas and chairs .
In 2007 I painted the table off white – sort of shabby chic and recently I RE-painted it in a high gloss paint – in Benjamin Moore Parish White.
So that is the “in a nutshell” story of the origin of my coffee table. I would like to say Thank you the online design service Havenly, for inspiring me to share this story!
Writing this story reminds me of how important it is to cherish pieces which connect is to the past – to where we have been and who we were and who we are. It can be a pair of earrings or a bed – what it is – is not as important as the connection. As a rule, I don’t hold onto much and try not to invest too much importance in the”material”. Yes I Love beautiful things and Art especially is so important to me but as I have gotten older and have lost REAL THINGs , I care less and less about the Stuff of life.
But some things transcend the material.
4 thoughts on “MY VERY FIRST PIECE OF FURNITURE”
There are certain things that we have that have been with us for so long and through so many seasons of our lives that they seem to aquire a presence that transforms them into something more than just a thing. They’re a physical touchstone to our past. And they hold memories of so many of the small everyday moments that are the backdrop of our lives. We have the dining table, chairs and China hutch that was at my husband’s mother’s house as far back as he can remember. My children (now grown, one with her own child) still gather around the table that was their MawMaw’s with us for meals. Our granddaughter listens to stories of our family’s lives and loves and joys and sorrows, stories of long ago Christmases and birthdays and Sunday fried chicken dinners, stories about the time MawMaw burnt the roast and the time the top layer of the birthday cake slid off onto the table with the candles still burning. My granddaughter eats off of my grandmother’s China that fills that China hutch and listens to stories about my childhood and talks about people in my family who are long gone that she’s never met as though they were neighbors that she just spent time with the day before.
Some things are just things. Some things are something more.
Amazing story! Totally agree with having some loved things to connect with the past and to know why are you here now! Love you!
Hi, thanks for sharing your story.
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