Yesterday I continued my effort to catch up on my Be Still – Fifty Two assignments. This one called for using a simple subject–like a chair, back lighting, and shooting from different perspectives. I knew immediately what I was going to use for my subject. It’s just taken me a while to get back to it.
First, some back story, some of which I’ve told before.
My mom was born in a small Saskatchewan prairie village in 1929. Her daddy died when she was two-years-old and my grandma went on to raise her three children by herself. What I haven’t mentioned is carpenter named George Goodwin. Based on stories I recall, and diaries I’ve read, I know that Mr. Goodwin was a good friend of my grandma’s and took a special interest in her children.
Mr. Goodwin took supper often with my grandma and her little family and, perhaps as a way of thanking her, built things for the children. I remember playing with wooden wheelbarrows and stilts he made. All that remains today is a wooden rocking chair that he built for my mom.
That this was my mom’s chair when she was a child makes it precious to me. The memories I have of sitting in this chair when I was a child and remembering my own children using it make it priceless. There was no doubt I would photograph this chair for the assignment.
I draped an old, worn out, hand-stitched quilt over the chair for a few photos. This quilt was made by paternal grandma. It’s falling apart and I’ve no doubt it will end up in the trash bin after I’m gone. In the meantime I treasure it and the memories I have that are attached to it.
In other photos I set quilt blocks that had been pieced by my maternal grandma on the seat of the chair. I rescued many of these blocks from my grandma’s attic before the tiny house was auctioned off.
I like to imagine my mom’s tiny child-sized hands on the arm rest of the chair even as I remember my own little hands rubbing the wood to a smooth patina. The little raised piece of wood on the hand rest used to remind me of a piece of Cadbury chocolate!
The rockers on this little chair have served to soothe and comfort children since the early 1930s. If I have my way they will continue to do so for many, many years to come. Perhaps one day my own great-great-grandchildren will sit in this little chair–now isn’t that a precious thought?
Here is a photograph I took of my granddaughter sitting in the rocking chair last year. There’s so much history in this photograph–not only is she sitting in her great-grandma’s chair, she is holding the well-loved dolls that belonged to her grandma (me!)
What a fabulous keepsake! I have a little red chair of my uncle’s. His name is on the bottom. It’s a treasure.
Such a wonderful story to give your children and grandchildren. I love looking at the quilts and the wear of the chair, imagining those small little girls using it. Lovely!
Thanks so much, Mary Jo.
I love the close ups. I’d like to do that with a number of things.
I have a similar chair (adult size) that belonged to my grandmother and then to my father and now to me. It moved to my office four years ago, and my husby often sits in it if he is dictating something that I am typing. In some odd way it makes me feel like he’s tapping into my family in a way he doesn’t even realize. Excellent piece. JMHO.
What a treasure that chair of yours is, Lynn. I love how precious items can seem to reach through time to connect us with those who came before us and, hopefully, those who will follow us.