Monday, September 10, 2012

# 342 - My Goldilocks Chair

All the chairs in my house are nice, but they are designed for taller people. Most people are taller than I am, so it is rare to be able to sit in a chair that feels right for my body. I have longed to have a chair that would give me a Goldilocks moment, a chair that is not too big and not too small, but just right. This weekend, by unlikely chance, I found my chair.

Sunday, I had several errands to make and as I passed by the local Goodwill store, I decided to stop in and take a look around. As for Goodwill, if anyone ever has a donation to make, I firmly believe it should be made to Goodwill, founded by a good-hearted minister nearly 100 years ago. If you see someone working behind the counter at Goodwill, it just might be a woman who is living in a homeless shelter, trying to rebuild her life. Over the years, I have taken several car-loads and truck-loads of items to Goodwill for donating. This organization will continue to be my first choice for donated items.

This weekend, the store was filled with the Sunday church crowd. People were scurrying about, having a good look at things on the shelves, on the racks and in the back of the shop. So many items have a good solid structure, but simply need a face-lift, such as the lamps. Some of those lamps had to have cost a fortunate when they were first purchased, but the paint had worn away and the shades were missing. Still, many lamps had a sturdy foundation with great styling. There were two awesome lamps I wished to have been able to bring home to be renewed, but alas, they were left at the store.

As I walked around, I found this toy aisle with a large play horse laying on its side. After picking it up and taking a good look at it, I could not believe that such an old toy with deep character had been sent to Goodwill.

I put it in the basket. Little did I know the horsey would make such great friends with my four-legged furry friends at home.

All the while, I walked around the store and kept my eye open for a bookshelf to put upstairs in my spare bedroom. There were plenty of bookshelves, but they were the assemble-yourself variety and that God-awful cheap quality still shined through, time making them look worse off instead of richer through the passing of ownership.

In the back of the store, I spied this table. It had been mostly hidden because an old-style television was sitting on it. Closer, still, I ask a young gentleman nearby if he would mind moving the tv to the next table. He beamed and got to show off his muscles. And there it awesome little side table. After some research, I've learned this furniture maker crafted these tables either from teak or walnut, but it is solid wood.

I can't pass on solid wood, not with those clean lines and the styling of the table's edges that are cast downward at every corner. Plus, who can beat $13.00 for a solid wood table?

Since I could not find a bookshelf, I decide to head out. I have found two interesting buys, a horse sporting a saddle and a Texas tribute-flag and a nice, sturdy solid wood side table.

Howdy is already trying to protect his new little friend.

Passing by the other furniture, I see people standing around looking at a couple of chairs. One of the chairs looks exactly like a chair that my great-grandmother would sit in while reading me books when I was about five years old. It sat there without a sitter and had just been unloaded to the floor for sale. I could not believe my eyes.

Like a magnet, the chair pulled me toward it, and in the midst of everyone looking and scratching their heads, and tapping their chins, I sat in the chair. Lo and behold, it held together like a dream, plus it rocked! The cushions had been cared for so tenderly that they appeared brand new. It was obvious that this chair had been well-cared for throughout the years.

Best of all, as I sat there, I felt relief from the near-constant back pain I endure. In 2009, I had a broken neck that required reconstructive surgery, so I'm held together by man-made engineering, which is never as good as the original plan. But, the comfort I felt while sitting in this chair is hard for me to find these days. My short legs fully reached the ground and this lessened the pull on my back, and I felt as if this chair had been built to my specific measurements. I closed my eyes for a second, enjoying the chair of perfection, only to open them to see more people wanting their turn at the seat.

As I stood up, my mind had been settled. I took a quick look at the underside, the backside and at other parts of the chair, blocking the chair from another sitter --- hey ---- it's still my turn and the inspection continues. Then I glanced at the pricing/inventory tagged on the upper cushion, it had been taped to the fabric. As a few other people began to push on the cushion and to tap the legs of the chair with their stubby shoe, I suddenly reached in between everyone, ripped the tag off the cushion and immediately "walked" to checkout.

Unbelievably, on my way to checkout, racing there, I had FIVE people either stop me, block me or tap me on the shoulder to ask if I was really going to buy that horse. Every person asked with such a sparkle in their eye, I wondered why everyone had been drawn to it. One lady said she had intended to go back for it, but she did not have a basket on her and wanted to see what the rest of the store had to offer. I smiled, while thinking, "...tsk, tsk, if you had truly wanted it, you would have taken it, laid claim to it, and not let another person get a chance to buy it."

I actually told her, "It's a beauty; I'm sure it will provide hours of fun for the kids in my family."

As I reached check-out, another person was behind me, asking about the chair. I was in line to check-out, I held up the tag for the chair and said said to the clerk, "I already have the tag and am buying the chair."

The clerk smiled and said to the woman, "That's how it works, the person with the tag is the one buying it."

I must say, the great  humorous thing about shopping at Goodwill is that you find one-of-a-kind deals in the store. If you find a good thing, there will not be a shelf lined with duplicates. If you see something you like, you better make up your mind and claim it. The next fun part is to get through check-out without someone wanting your chosen item as their own. There is something about watching another person with that beautiful vase heading out the door.

The next funny part was to get all the items home. Even though my purchases were of minimal value, I am not one to spend money. The budget for my leisure and recreation activities is rock-bottom. Plus, I spend very little gas because I am a home-body and proud of it!

I put the table, the horse and the chair cushions inside the truck and a young man loaded the chair into the truck bed for me. Driving home, in my rearview mirror, I could see the chair rocking and could not help but smile from ear to ear.

Finally, I pulled into the driveway at home and wondered how I was to get my goods inside the house.

I am not the kind of person who would hide a purchase, but the things I bought on this Sunday were kind of funny.

I make my first trip inside with the horse as my house-mate stood there ironing his uniform and watching a football game. I marched straight upstairs with the sizable horse and left her in the playroom. Then, back the stairs I went and out the door to get the table out of the truck's backseat. Back inside the house, up the stairs I climbed to my room and I set down the table. Whew, that solid wood table might be little, but it sure is hefty. Back down the stairs, out the front door, to the truck I go and I grab the chair's cushions. First, I give them a good beating to dislodge any potential dust, then I haul them back inside the house, through the foyer, past the man ironing clothes, and up I go around the curved staircase. Out of breath now, I take a moment to breathe --- in --- out ---- in ---- out --- and off I go downstairs again.

This time, I have a chair frame to manage. How will this be possible? Outside, I pull the chair to the end of the truck bed, attempt to lift it this way and that, then I find a good holding position and OFF I GO with the bulky chair in my arms. I get to the front door, manage to use part of the chair to catch the front door knob, open the door, and since I was on a roll and feeling incredible, I kept going...up, up, up, up the stairs I went with that chair until I reached the gameroom and down she went with great care.

What a trip!

I took a moment to look at the old-fashioned techniques used to construct this piece of furniture and wondered how old the chair might be. It's definitely an antique, and I know that some of the furniture building methods can help date a piece of furniture, so I will look into it.

But, the seat is not made of that flimsy crude we see today, the seat cushion is held firm by straps.

The wood pieces are doweled together, The rocking mechanism is made of metal springs.

I believe the wood is maple.

I cleaned it up. Vacuumed the cushions. Put it in my cozy room upstairs, along with the table, and I now have the most awesome reading chair I have ever owned.

Last night, after I watched a movie from the overstuffed leather chair in the gameroom, a chair that is comfortable enough, I retired to my room and sat in my chair for about an hour to read my book. Slowly rocking back and forth while reading, I began to fall asleep. I wondered who had owned this chair. What had she been like? Who gave her this chair? And I could not help but wonder, "Why was the original owner no longer able to sit in it?"

I said outloud, "You must be onto bigger and better things, but I promise you that I will take care of your chair and will enjoy it for a long time to come."

And I will.


Tombstone Livestock said...

Good score on the chair, and the wood table. Enjoy the chair.

Mike said...

The Goodwill has always been a shopping choice for me. Matter of fact, the whoa-man and I went a month or so ago. Naturally, we walked out with some knick knack.

aHunkaHunkaBurningLove said...

yep, looks like maple to me also. How old does something have to be to be an antique, because I would say its from the 50's or 60's......but thats just a total guess. said...

To everyone --- It does feel great to give these things a new home. I am glad to hear that others think the chair is Maple. Any more confirmations and other suggestions are welcomed. As for it being an "antique," I should do a blog post on it. For vehicles, it looks like it takes 25 years to be considered an antique. Otherwise, there is a loose definition of antigue, meaning anything not modern. However, I just discovered that according to U.S. Customs Laws, any work of art, piece of furniture, decorative object or the like, created in a former period, or according to U.S. Customs laws, 100 years before date of purchase. Therefore, the chair would be considered an antique because it is definitely created during a different time period, which is evident from construction techniques that are no longer used in this time period. However, if U.S. Customs were involved, I'm not sure if it would be marked on their paperwork as an antique. But, general population deems an antique to be an item at least 50 years old. I do believe this chair is at least 50 years old. And, an antique must be in good condition, collectible and rare. I know that chairs such as these are in demand, harder to find (meeting the rare component) and it is in good condition. I don't think the cushions are the originals, but that is okay. I will try to find out more about the furniure maker of this chair. Sure wish I knew which household it came from in this area. I'd LOVE to know! The fun begins!


LindaG said...

What awesome finds, Lana. Congratulations!
I'm short like you so I know how it is to always have your heels hanging.

I am so glad you found this chair. God bless. ♥ said...

Okay --- I have been challenged to learn more about the "antique" definition. It seems that the word "Vintage" is for items that are at least 50 years old and antique for items at least 100 years old. So, this chair is a vintage item!


Karen said...

Vintage or antique, it's a gem! I love it, Lana, and what a good home it has now with you.

So, now that I'm 54, I'm past vintage? Oh, boy...and I have to live to be 100 to be an antique? Wait til I tell my sons, lol, they thought I was an antique a long time ago.

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

I think you did an excellent job Lana! I'm jealous about the table. It's very hard to find real wood anything these days.

The Kelly's Adventures in KY said...

Love it! What great finds. The chair must have been meant to be! What a beautiful table too. Goodwill is definately a place where treasures are found... our destination of choice for donations as well. Very happy you have a comfortable reading partner!

Anonymous said...

Let me look...I think it may be Tell City Chair Company. Will do a little research , if so, it is worth a lot.
Those straps that hold the cushion are stretched out , you can get new ones or put a piece of plywood in for more support.
If you love it , that is all that counts....grandbaby rocking in the future will be comfortable. Beth

Anonymous said...

Try Willima Tell antiques web site..they also have a facebook page to oossibly find your rocker. Beth said...

Karen - You crack me up! I'm working on becoming Vintage myself!

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick - The table is a beauty. I agree, it is difficult to find hardwood ANYTHING. Our household lacks side tables. I usually use whatever I can find, but am hoping to change that this coming year. Since the downsizing is happening, I won't need to worry too much about it. But, I am so freakin happy to have a chair that fits me JUST RIGHT!

The Kelly's Adventures in KY - I have already sat in my chair several times, slowly rocked and read my books or Bible. Often, I get so relaxed that I just crawl into bed and fall asleep. The chair feels like it's always belonged to me. I have thanked the person who it once held and told them I will take great care of it!

Beth - I've been trying to do research on it as well. I should turn it over and take a look for markings, but I don't want to damage it in any way, it's so old. But, I imagine there are some markings somewhere, it will be like a treasure hunt to find it! I did look up the company you gave me and did find that I could also get a new kit to replace the woven straps. However, the ones that are there are stretched perfectly for the right level of sinking comfort and they are secure. I can tell that the chair had been well cared for.