Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On a "Mission"

We are in the market for a couple of living room chairs. We'd like to get something in a Mission style. Yesterday, after Dan got off work, we met at a store here in town, called Simply Stickley. In case you aren't familiar with Gustav Stickley, he designed houses and furniture in the mission style, back around 1900. They say he had a lot of influence on Frank Lloyd Wright. Here's a link that shows you a Stickley chair, in the style that we are hoping to buy. However, we'll probably find ours at JC Penney, not at Simply Stickley. We knew, before we went to their showroom, that each piece of their furniture is made to be an heirloom; and we aren't prepared to pay the price for an heirloom. Still, we wanted to experience the real thing - see it, sit in it, and even smell it (the aromatic scent of wood and leather permeates the store). Now it's back to Penney's (and back down to earth) for the one they have on sale, and which most certainly won't ever become an heirloom.

Visiting Simply Stickley, though, brought to mind some memorable pieces of furntiture we've owned. Here are three I thought of:

The gold couch. When I finished college, Dan and I moved to Juneau, and rented a small condo that my parents owned (they had recently moved to Anchorage). When we arrived at our new home, there was a brand new gold upholstered couch, sitting on the green carpet in the living room (green and gold - it was the '70s!). Mom and Dad had purchased it and left it for us as a house-warming gift. We'd been married two years, at that time, and the couch was our first piece of "new" furniture.

The maple rocking chair. When I was pregnant with Chris, Dan bought me a maple rocking chair, with wool tweed cushions on the back and the seat. That rocker sat in Chris' nursery, then in Tim's, and eventually in our living room. In that chair I rocked the boys to sleep, comforted them when they were sick, fed them when they were hungry, and read hundereds of story books to them.

The "lion chairs." When Dan's aunt and uncle, Lauretta and Wiley, began clearing out their home, in preparation for selling it, we inherited two wooden chairs, with lion carvings on the back and the arms. One is a rocker and the other is not. Those chairs originally belonged to Dan's mother's dear friends in Seattle, the Phillips, when Dan was a small child; and they hold good memories for Dan. I'm proud to have them here.

What I found interesting, in this mental exercise, was that the pieces of furniture that were most meaningful to me were not necessarily the most beautiful or expensive ones. But they were memorable because they represented, to me, the love of some very special people in my life.

[Below are some pictures of one of the lion chairs. I think they're very unusual, and thought you might enjoy seeing one of them.]

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