Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Room

The woman I married came with her mother's furniture.

While this doesn't mean that in addition to her parents their furniture was at the wedding as well, it does mean that it was always "there" somewhere, and would eventually be with us when the time came.  And it did.

Several pieces first made their way into our two car garage.  They were covered, and while not as protected as in a museum, the pieces did have a roof over them, even if the legs did get wet when it really rained hard. Bricks were eventually added.

But the real emergence and blending with our lives came when we moved to a house that in effect had four bedrooms, but only a need to put humans in two of them. A house with two uneeded bedrooms wasn't purposely sought after, but it did seem like a good place to make new roots and enjoy the extra space.

Of course, extra space to Americans merely means there's an opportunity to fill it up.  And this happened when one of the four bedrooms, on the first floor, became what I would call the 'Helen Museum.'  The room became a near re-creation of the living room of my wife's mother; the apartment in the Bronx that my wife last lived in before marriage.

Saying the furniture is "old" is not descriptive enough.  Some wag, other than myself, said the room was "stuck in the 70s."  They meant the 1970s, when really the room was the perfect complement to a roll of Indian head pennies. It was from Edith Wharton and the 'Age of Innocence.'  Only the solid wood console (color) television and electricity might lead you to believe you entered the latter part of the 20th century.

The sofa and two arm chairs were decently upholstered, the coach being restored after my wife rescued it from the curb after her mother accidentally set fire to it in their Bronx apartment.  After learning that her mother was all right, she found the couch on the curb where the firemen had dragged it from the fourth floor.  It got another life. 

The faux fireplace and mantle was another touch, with the electric lit logs that radiated enough heat to get metal spinners turning, giving the appearance of flames flickering.  They reminded me of the story a neighbor told us of someone she went out with who created a VCR tape of the Yule Log that would be on Channel 11 on Christmas Eve.  He would play the tape on TV when trying to establish a romantic mood.  Turns out she broke up with him for some reason.  Perhaps he didn't tape enough of the Yule Log.

Years and years have passed and the room remained an ode to the departed.  I offered to have a fire escape painted outside the window to further the commemorative look, but was dismissed as being silly.

But the beginning of the end has arrived, and literally by chance.  My wife won the 32" flat panel television at the Christmas office party raffle.  First prize.  She's lucky like that.  Thoughts started to be voiced that use could be made of it in the 'TV room' as 'The Room' became known.

The flat panel TV however remained in its box, somewhat blocking the view of the current TV.  Offers to unbox it and set it up were met with voiced plans that the room was going to be redone, and that they were not going to stand a flat panel TV on top of another TV.  "That would look stupid."

Inertia needed to be broken.  So, with my new found time, the TV was unboxed and hooked up and operational while the curator was out working one day. It was placed squarely on top of the old TV.  The fear of course was that by the time it came out of its box at the museum director's command, HiDef TV would be replaced by 3-D TV.  Someone had to act.

A financial standing was checked before this action was performed because it was fully understood that once the empty box hit the side of the house, there was going to be action at the top of the mountain and things were going to move.  And they did.

Gold was sold and furniture was shopped for.  The couch was going to be allowed to go.  This of course came as a surprise, but a dream and a voice was recited as poof that it was now okay to shed it.

What the calendar makers failed to note was the designation of  'Family Heirloom Day.' I've now marked it on the calendar, and will look at next year's calendar on the same date and see what happens. Upon hearing that the couch was going my oldest daughter, now with a house and some extra room, offered, no insisted, on getting the couch to her place. It was going to be used.

Brocaded, Edith Wharton, Queen Anne, mahogany carved furniture in a center hall colonial might make sense, but in a cellar?

Perhaps yes. After all, there is space.  For now.


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