This rocking chair has a history and a sentimental meaning for me times four. My first memory of this chair was it being in my paternal grandparents’ house. It lived in their basement rec-room. It was always there, at least as far back as I remember. They moved into that house when I was 2 and it took time for the basement to be paneled, tiled, and ready for use. It was my favorite place to sit. My grandmother explained that the chair was one they had gotten for her father-in-law who needed a straight back chair in his declining year. At one point my mother overheard this story and felt compelled to add on. The rocking chair was one that her in-laws borrowed from my mother’s family. It was one of the pieces of furniture that her parents had taken out of my maternal grandmother’s parents’ house when my great-grandmother had passed away. Being curious, I asked why the chair had been saved. My mother said the story she heard was that it belonged to her grandfather and he was very possessive. Since he died 9 years before my mother was born, the story must come by way of her parents. Anyway, the story is that if anyone dared to be sitting in this chair in great-grandfather’s presence, he would just stand next to it until they got up and surrendered the spot to him!
When my paternal grandparents built a new house and moved, the chair did not go with them. Again, knowing its dual history, and being in need of a chair, I asked my grandmother whatever happened to it. She said they left it in the old house which they were renting. So, of course, I asked if I could have it. She contacted her tenants and they did not object, so I went over and collected the chair. I did a bit of a clean up on the chair and used it with back and seat pads since there were spots that still looked bad.
When my wife and I moved to our condo, with a basement, we decided to strip the chair down to bare wood — the varnish at that time was about 80 years since it had been applied. Once stripped (my wife did most of the work), I applied tung oil. That is its current state.
The rocking chair then resided in our nursery and I rocked our daughter in it many, many times. As our daughter grew out of the nursery and into a “big girl’s room” , the rocker was relegated to small bedroom. Our daughter grew, attended college, got married and moved out. We rearranged guest bedroom and office and found we had a spare room. The chair had its own room for a while.
Then we were blessed with grandchildren. The spare room was outfitted with a crib and, of course, the rocking chair stayed. When any of the grandchildren were here during the day and it was nap time, they were rocked to sleep. The children are now beyond naps, the crib is gone. The chair needed to find a new home.
The chair now resides in my office where I use it and remember ….