As if we don’t have enough to do, I’ve been eyeing my grandmother’s rocking chair. It was that utility green that lawn furniture was painted once upon a time. Then it met a paint brush it couldn’t fend off. I think there were more paintings. Somewhere prior to the boy’s attack on the dignity of the chair, there had been a very sad re-caning. The rockers don’t rock as my grandmother rocked them down while snapping bushels and bushels of beans over the years.
When I was born, my grandmother was already in her 80’s. Visiting “home” was a tradition every summer. Rolling down the window when we crossed the NC line was something that my teen angst couldn’t suppress. She moved into my aunt’s home right next door to the house my father was man of as the oldest boy all through the depression. I only remember going over with her to walk through the rooms and look at the dust covered items sitting and waiting for the ravages of time to rot and decay them.
Of course it did.
When she died, all the children went under the now leaking roof and carefully tested the sagging floor to claim what they wanted of their childhood. I was too young at 15 to be omitted or considered a threat. I stood listening and occasionally whispering to my mom. I wanted Grandma’s rocker. Mom whispered to dad. He made it so.
DV and I have lugged it from place to place. I’ve stubbornly refused to give up the symbol of the resourceful, self-reliant woman who clung to her family when her husband died – feeding and clothing them through the great depression, the upheaval of war, and the reconstruction of played-out land.
We’ve begun to restore some dignity to the rocker. It will loose a bit of gritty self-reliance. I’m OK with that. Under my grandmother’s tough gritty exterior, was a practical, neat soul. That piece of her will be on display soon.