My mid-century home is fading fast.
Right now strangers and bottom feeders are traipsing thru my parent’s suburban house picking over the remains of a family’s long life hoping to score a deal at a tag sale.
It is the final indignity as we close down my childhood house. It is surreal and sad for me and the symbolism of it all is crushing. An intensely private person, it feels invasive, as though my mother herself was laying on an autopsy table splayed open for all to view. The multiple dumpsters lie in wait on the driveway, patiently waiting their turn to be greedily filled with once cherished items not sold. The prospect of donating large furniture is dim.
No one, it seems wants them. I know this
There are countless items large and small, but the hardest for me has been the fate of the dining room table the heart and soul of my home. It remains standing at the tag sale, not fetching an adequate price at the auction we held and may well end up being thrown in a dumpster along with other beautifully crafted mid-century furniture. These pieces though technically are considered “mid century,” they are the dowdier, older sisters of the current, sexier, trendier “mid century modern” furnishings.
They are the ones no one is taking to the dance. Or taking home.
Not unlike their furniture, my parents weren’t trendy they were traditionalists who at the outset purchased solid, well made furniture from the best manufacturers in Manhattan showrooms courtesy of Tootsie, Mom’s decorator. To their generation the Henkle Harris walnut polished wood dining table was a solid good name.
Money in the bank.
To today’s Millennial’s, that furniture is “Brown Wood” a feature making it near radioactive in the marketplace.
Brown is not the new black when it comes to furniture. “Brown Wood” in fact is furniture non gratis, it is the new catchall term for all dark furniture indistinguishable from one another whether mahogany, walnut or cherry rendering it decidedly unsellable.
Along with bone china, sterling silver, and crystal, all once signifiers of good taste, this generation has no taste for it.
Homage to a Table.
All my sentiments are distilled in this dining room table that was the center of my family life for 60 years. Nearly every person of note in my life has sat at that table at some point, and every marker in my life had a meal served in its honor.
It’s where I blew out my childhood birthday candles from a home-made cake made by my mother from a Duncan Hines mix and where she lit Shabbos candles every Friday night. It was the site of countless Passover’s, Thanksgivings, and fancy dinner parties my parents held where I would create elaborate hand-drawn menus just for the occasion.
Eating at the dining room table signified an occasion but it was also the table that we as a family boisterously played Bingo, traded real estate on a Monopoly board, and it was the table my mother sat at late into the night fretting over bills, enveloped in a plume of smoke.
For 55 years Mom protected the table with heavy, custom-made table pads and damask and linen table cloths so that now the bare wood surface belies its age with nary a scratch nor blemish.
Seeing the gleaming wooden top for the first time in ages was a revelation at the care my mother bestowed on this piece of furniture but made it all the more painful thinking it might well be casually tossed in a metal dumpster, scratched and marred and mistreated. So undignified.
So I find myself stuck in my dining room and it’s fate.
For someone who counts on continuity this hits to the core. I am crushed.
Copyright (©) 20018 Sally Edelstein Envisioning the American Dream All Rights Reserved