Bit by bit, pieces of my life have been going off to live in new homes as I sell off some of my belongings that I can no longer keep.
Yesterday I said goodbye to my antique dining room chairs that graced my dining room table for 20 years.
This one tugged at my heart.
Not mere utilitarian furniture to me, the chairs are the seat of so many, many memories.
Chairs my mother sat in, smiling at me adoringly at the well-set table filled with heirlooms as I carried on family traditions. My father regaled us with stories and memorable toasts in those seats and cousins, aunts, and uncles many now long gone celebrated holidays and occasions big and small relaxed in these intricately carved wooden chairs.
Year after year.
My niece and nephew grew up with them, literally so that in time these once tiny children no longer needed a booster seat in order to reach the table.
Evidence of A Life Well Lived
Though always wiped clean, the silk upholstered cushions still bear the faintest remnants of, good times past that may be visible only to me. Tangible evidence exists of boozy dinner parties with friends that ran late into the night remain in the faded wine stains.
I can still see the spots where the charoset was inevitably dropped from a crumbling of matzoh at a Seder. It might take a magnifying glass but the tiniest hint of chocolate is still visible to me from a special Mother’s Day cake and the drop of roasted pumpkin soup from a Thanksgiving meal is almost imperceptible even if the memory is vivid.
It was in one of those chairs that I sat, alone in the dining room after I buried my parents while the crush of the shiva went on in other rooms.
The chairs are gone now but not discarded.
The buyer was overjoyed with her purchase and that in turn filled me with joy. The gratification of knowing these were objects that would be cherished was priceless.
She was a lovely woman named Jill in her 40s who has gone through her own recent challenges. Divorced at the height of the pandemic, she was trying to rebuild her life in a new house. She came to get the chairs with her mother who lost her husband only a month ago and now the two of them would share a new home in an unexpected life.
Jill, it seems had a table but no chairs and longed to have seating to entertain. I hope for her these chairs will be filled with friends and family, love and laughter as they were for me.
I sold the chairs. I kept the memories.