Monday, June 15, 2015

52 Ancestors: Rock On

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.



This week’s theme is all about heirlooms. I come from a sentimental family that has passed many items down through the generations, from everyday kitchen tools to fine silver tea sets. In a few months, I will be passing along an heirloom that belonged to me first:  a rocking chair.

I do not know who gave me this rocking chair – maybe my parents, maybe my grandparents, maybe Santa. But the first picture of it is dated Christmas 1952 when I was a year and a half. 

Wendy Slade 1952 http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Me Christmas 1952 in Burlington, NC
on the back:  "Wendy and all her glory"

Wendy Easter 1955  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Easter 1955
Yes, Momma cut those bangs!  But what a pretty
dress.  Those gloves were sheer. 

Rocking chair  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
My rocking chair -- getting ready for a makeover
It has sat in an attic longer than it did anywhere else. It is time to bring it out and give it a second life. The damage to the finish and a few cracks only add to the character, right? Eh ~ no matter. This is one heirloom that does not need to be preserved or restored to its original glory. I envision “new glory” for this rocking chair for Grandbaby #1.

Maybe SHE will sit and read a little book or sing to her own little baby in a rocker that looks like this:


Or maybe HE will see if he can rock hard enough to flip himself out of a rocker that looks like this:



There was a time when I thought painting a piece of furniture was practically a sin. However, now as I contemplate the future of the heirlooms in my possession, I feel myself moving to the other side. Daily we are expected to adapt to changes in technology. Even the most senior of senior citizens are learning to text and use social media. Maybe we can let at least some of our heirlooms live in a modern world too without expecting them to sit like do-not-touch museum pieces. 

My hope is that one day when the paint is faded and chipped, the rocker will get another life when it is passed on to a third generation. 



© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

20 comments:

  1. Love that child's rocking chair, hope the first grandbaby enjoys it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be devastated if she doesn't.

      Delete
  2. How wonderful to look forward to your first grandchild! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think that's cute to write a blog post weekly about an ancestor, etc. What a great theme this week with heirlooms and how wonderful to pass your rocking chair down to your first grandchild! Something I am sure will be a memorable thing not only when you do but through the years.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't been good about following the 52 Ancestors meme -- too busy working on other things. But it is a good project and it inspires my thinking.

      Delete
  4. Oh, Wendy, what a priceless gift! That will be so special. Congratulations on your first grandbaby!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jacqi. I can't wait to get started.

      Delete
  5. Like you, I like to leave the old stuff "as is", but a bright new colorful coat of paint will appeal more to a young one! Congratulations! Such a special gift for him or her!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess in years to come, someone can say, "I don't know what Grandma Wendy was thinking of when she covered that beautiful maple wood with all this gaudy paint." That's why we have furniture stripper.

      Delete
  6. Congratulations on a coming first grandbaby. It's exciting to become a grandmother.

    Adorable photos of you. I go back and forth with painting furniture. I tend to leave the heirlooms in my possession as close to their original condition as possible. On the other hand, I tend to have little problem painting furniture that was someone else's discarded heirloom.

    I'm sure whatever you choose your grandbaby will enjoy when old enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nancy. I think because this chair was MINE first and not a grandparents' heirloom, I feel different about the question of whether to paint. I have no qualms about painting the rocker whereas I won't touch my great-grandmother's corner cupboard.

      Delete
  7. That's always the debate isn't it ? Update it or leave it. I think the rocking chair will be so cute repainted and I can't wait to see what you do to it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. How awesome! I guess I haven't been around much to know that you are having a GRANDBABY!! I am hoping to have one in a few years as my daughter is getting married next year :)

    The rocking chair is going to be cool...post after you paint....and be sure to take photos at 18 months and 5 years :)

    I have a rocking chair that came across in a covered wagon with great-greats traveling with Brigham Young!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, you didn't miss any big announcement. In fact, I guess this is IT.

      Your rocking chair has some really magnificent history!

      Delete
  9. Congratulations on the new grandbaby! I love that you are passing down the rocker and hope you share pictures of him/her in it ASAP. My daughter takes a picture every month of her baby (on 1 month birthday, 2 month, etc.) in the same chair - it's incredible to see the changes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen people do that on Facebook. Good idea. But it'll be awhile before this baby is sitting in that chair. November 10 is the due-date.

      Delete
  10. Wonderful rocking chair photos, Wendy. We had a child's rocking chair, which we painted brilliant yellow, added a few decals, and used for all 4 of our children. But after the last child was 6, it was happily passed on to a cousin, who has now passed it on to a friend, who... We're not so good with keeping our 'heirlooms' in our family! Enjoy your grandchild - I'm at 6 now, and they're so enjoyable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like your rocker got and gave lots of love.

      Delete