Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Tale of A Shelf

In 1971 the OC and I set off from NY on a great adventure---his AF career. His first assignment was in the Mojave Desert, in California. After a week of driving, with our not-quite-fully-potty-trained black lab puppy, Suzy, we arrived at what I was sure was the dusty and desolate ends of the earth!

But even though the OC was a lowly second lieutenant, we were lucky enough to get a three bedroom house of our own, on a quiet, leafy street on the base. Needing furniture, to dull the echoes, we went on a hunt. And bought a shelving unit. We're not talking mahogany here! It was made of pressed board of some kind, with a finish that made it look like wood. And the price was right.

We set it up in our living room and stood back to admire it. We felt exactly like grownups! It had a big rectangular space for our television; shelves above and below for books and records; a shelf just right for our record player.....

Gradually, that dry and dusty place became our home. That shelf saw Lily carried over the threshold; and her first faltering steps from chair to couch. For three years it kept passive watch over the little joys and sorrows of our day to day lives.

When Uncle Sam sent us to a new assignment, our shelving unit was loaded on the Mayflower van, and arrived, slightly more battered [always slightly more battered!] at new homes --- in Montana, California again, Alabama, twice overseas, North Dakota, Minnesota and here. When we finally arrived at our present home our shelf unit had moved with us approximately ten times, and had served us faithfully and well in living rooms, family rooms, childrens' bedrooms, and finally in my sewing room.

But it grew weary from all that traveling. And increasingly battered. And I, ungrateful wretch that I am, grew weary of it. We wanted to donate it to charity, but no-one would come to pick it up. And It wouldn't fit in the trunk of the car.It started to put down roots in the hallway where it languished after being evicted from the sewing room......

Until today.

I asked The Bean to wrestle it out to the curb. My plan was to put a large "Free!" sign on it, go back inside and see what happened. The Bean thought it a waste of time, but humoured me. He thought it too big for anyone to haul away. But he was wrong. We put it out there at five o'clock.

By six it was gone! Hauled away to a new life, without us. I hope it will be happy.

I'm just happy that it's gone!

12 comments:

Tanya Brown said...

This made me smile. Even though it's good to see the legacy furniture gone, it's also nice that it has found a new home.

fifi said...

You have had such an interesting life, full of travel.

I personally would have been sorry to see it go. All those associations...

riseoutofme said...

Hmmm .... this got me thinking ...I wonder if I put a couple of the comatose offspring, adorned with signs, would they be gone in an hour?????

Hmmmmmm ....

Stomper Girl said...

I'm glad it found a home. When my aunt donated her corner shelving unit to us I felt exactly the same: as if I had some proper grown-up furniture!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh Molly -- I got all teary-eyed just reading the tale of your shelf. And my heart lurched for your little shelf when it got carried away -- I want it back!

We have a similar "shelf" purchased in similar circumstances -- when we were an army Lt. and wife and I've never thought of all the history it's seen. The tears and the laughter. Silly us, we were young and thought we were buying a fine oak shelf -- but, like yours, it was pressed wood (my, how we've learned!) A few years ago I painted ours (I figured what have I got to lose?) and it looks great now and is serving us well.

Now, by my count, our paths have almost crossed over the years -- the mojave desert (Lancaster for me), Alabama and Minnesota!

Molly said...

I didn't put my memories of it out by the curb---they're safe in my head!
I've tried this technique once before, with a T.V. which Goodwill wouldn't take because it wasn't in tip-top working order. Whoever hauled it off probably used it for parts! I just hate to put more than I have to into our landfills. I'm happy if someone else can use stuff we're done with....

Offspring might be quite another matter! A shelf has obvious uses....Maybe if you attached a list of their abilities---and, of course, instructions on how to get the darn things started!

Paint? Now there's a thought....Nah! It was too big.I'm still glad it's gone!
Ah! Beautiful downtown Lancaster! I remember it well...

meggie said...

I love that it found a new home! We have had such items, & when they have been 'stolen' off in the night, I have felt inordinately happy at the thought.

PBS said...

Aww that's nice that it found a new home.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Every time I do that I find myself wishing I had it back some time later! Moving does tend to pare down our possessions and from the looks of our place, it might be time to move again! blessings, marlene

rhubarbwhine said...

I love that it found a new home. Someone will be very excited with their 'new' find!

Eastcoastdweller said...

I think I may have missed you guys at George AFB by one measly decade. Small world!

I am sure that you weren't the guy next door who always played that Boogie Down song at top volume.

Julie's journey said...

Lovely story and I hope it has gone to a good home.