A Chair Wrapped in Stories

February seemed like a good month to try (again) to organize my office, so I have been working away on the job. I’ll get it right someday. I have one of the chairs that sat on the sunporch of my parents’ last home – not the chair my father liked to sit in, but the chair to sit in if you wanted to talk to him. It’s an aluminum lawn chair, pawky-looking the way old aluminum gets, and I want it for a guest chair in my office. Also, I suppose, for a place to sit if I want to talk to my father. My idea was that I would take strips of old cloth and wrap the aluminum bits, and then re-cover the cushions. I’ve been down in the workroom this morning wrapping the strips. All those strips, of course, come with stories. The Jesse tree I made with my daughter. The quilt I never finished for my son. (Sorry, kid.) The Liberty cotton dress I utterly failed to make for my daughter (Sorry, hon.) A shirt I loved that belonged to my husband maybe twenty years ago.

Those are fabrics it’s easy to relinquish; all these people are still flourishing. Then it gets harder. A blue cotton shirt of Elaine’s, just her shade of blue, and I cannot bring myself to tear it up. She’s only been gone nine years. She still might want it sometime. Tablecloths stitched by my grandmother Hetty, who put down her needle for good in 1951. A pillow made by my mother – gone in 2004 – for her sister Jill who said her last good-byes in 1956. I can’t bring myself to cut these things up – so I guess I will resume this strange curatorship.

In the meantime, there’s this chair to finish. I’m determined – no new materials will be bought for this project. And I’m running out of scraps.


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