A chair goes off to college [and comes home]

Once upon a time — probably sometime in the fifties, or early sixties — my grandparents bought a high-backed armchair.  It gave them decades of good service, providing a place for my [very tall] grandfather to sit back and watch TV.

In roundabout fashion, about fifteen years ago it ended up with me.  It has been with me in two apartments and one house; it saw me through my early years of  teaching, through the unfolding of my relationship with Scott, through my transition into motherhood.  And after all these years of love and use, it ended up looking very very ragged indeed.  You would swear that our cat had gone to town on it, except that we have never had a cat.  It was the wear and tear of daily living that made those arms start to go threadbare, the bottom to sag, one spring to come unstuck.

So earlier this summer, I arranged to have it reupholstered.  I loved the original  nubby aqua-and-yellow fabric — so very retro! — but clearly, the chair was in dire need of TLC.  So I met with an upholsterer and chose a fabric sample, and on the last day of July the truck came to pick it up and take it to the workshop.  I watched the man lift the chair over his head and put it in the back of the truck and — call me insane — I actually got emotional.  It felt almost like I was sending a child off to college.  The chair was going to a place where I wouldn’t be there to keep an eye on it, and I knew that when it came back home it would be totally different from the way it was when it left, and I could only hope that the new version of the chair would still fit in with our home, with our family.

Guess what?

It does.

Isn’t it a beauty?  I think Grandma and Grandpa would approve.   And I like knowing that underneath the beautiful new burgundy-rose fabric, it’s still the chair in which Grandpa watched Lawrence Welk and read the paper.  It’s still the same chair in which I have graded papers and prayed and lost myself in good books and fed my babies.  And tonight, instead of sitting on the couch for storytime, Matthew and I squeezed side by side into the new chair to read his picture book.  It was perfect.

Welcome home, chair.  It just wasn’t the same without you.

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