Table holds memories
Without a doubt it is the oldest piece of furniture we own, and it may have been the one item that has had the most use by our family. Over the decades, divans, TV sets, washers, dryers, mattresses and chairs have come and gone, but after more than four decades, we are still using the same kitchen table.
In the mid-1960s, we purchased the table from Glanville Furniture, which was located on Minnesota Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. I have no idea what we paid for it, but it was money that was well spent. The chairs didn’t do as well; I think we are on our third set. Actually we have three chairs left, and they are used about three times per day. I’m not sure we have anything else that has been that serviceable.
It’s round, has two leaves, is made out of maple and, yes, it is nothing spectacular and probably totally out of style. That said, we regard the table as a member of the family.
When we purchased the table, we had three little girls and I was working for BPU. If that table could talk, it would tell our family history. The table could talk about watching three little girls advance from special children’s seats to “big people” chairs. It could relate tales about thousands of great meals, fun times coloring Easter eggs and carving Jack-o-Lanterns as well as less enjoyable times filling out tax returns and gluing together school projects. Many great discussions were held at the round table, and we also heard exciting announcements of coming marriages and births.
Probably the first crisis that it saw came in the late 1960s when I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with my position at BPU. There were discussions about applying for jobs and with my trusty portable typewriter, many applications were filled out. I sat there many nights writing manuscripts for novels, which unfortunately received rejection notices. Yet, there were always happy memories of family meals and sharing good times. I guess you might say the table saw the good, bad and frustrating times of our early life.
In all, the table has survived six moves and is still in good shape. On special occasions such as family dinners, it is “the children’s table.” We’ve seen that number grow from two or three to seven, and they are no longer “children.” I was asked about when you got to move to the “big people’s” table. The answer I got was probably never since the dining room table seats eight. If and when there are great-grandchildren, we’ll probably have to get an auxiliary table.
I began to think about the importance and nostalgic value of the table when Jean said we probably should begin looking for a new table, one that would fit in with our remodeled kitchen décor. At the first mention, I was shocked, but then I agreed it might be time for it to retire. After all, it has served a busy 40 plus year career of hosting meals, discussions and family games. In the near future, the sturdy, dependable table will probably move to the basement where it will hold boxes of family memorabilia. Who knows? It may be pressed back into service by a grandchild or another family member. No matter where it goes, it will always be part of our lives.