Family is like this; it stays with you no matter what.
And this chair is family.
My grandparents bought it in a brown fuzzy tweed and had it in their living room. I can remember its scratchy, burly texture. At the earliest parts of my memory, I remember sitting in my grandfather’s lap in that chair. He smelled of pipe tobacco and wool.
Years later, the chair would move to my childhood home where it would be re-covered in what I will call “sea foam” green Naugahyde along with an original Simmons Hide-A-Bed. And to make a complete set, my parents would have another chair made to match the original but, somewhere along the way, the carpenter lost an inch when placing the seat bottom so the copy “sits” lower than the original.
For decades, the sofa, flanked by the two chairs, sat in my parent’s den. I watched television shows there, listened to a shortwave radio that was built-in to storage cabinets, and played board games with friends throughout my childhood. And in my teen years, it was where I sometimes took dates to meet my parents and watch television.
I spent a good part of my youth in that chair.
My two sisters and I had grown up in that house with that chair either at my grandparents or in our own home. We all knew it well. Later, after each of us had married and started families of our own, we would travel “home” to that same place to visit Mom and Dad, to let them get to know their grandchildren and vice versa. At night we would spread around in the house to sleep in the same beds. And in the days we would sit on the same furniture and eat at the same table in the dining room.
My kids all sat in that green Naugahyde chair in my parent’s home. They know it well.
After Dad passed away, the house sat unoccupied for months while the lawyers sorted out the contentious details between Dad’s new wife of thirteen years and those named in his Last Will and Testament. Ultimately, with more than a decade and a son-lawyer to help put documents and signatures in place to her advantage but about which we knew nothing, our lawyers finally told us, “it’s all gone. She’s got everything. Walk away.”
Capitulating, we made a final appeal for the keepsakes in our family home and were given begrudging permission to pay a single visit to rescue the keepsakes and memories we wished.
Accompanied by my wife, her siblings and their spouses, we arrived that morning with a 24 foot rented truck.
We gutted the place.
My wife and I then made deliveries to Houston, Scottsdale and to our home in Phoenix.
And so today, the three Naugahyde pieces of furniture reside in our home in Phoenix. Our grandchildren, generation number five, now sit in that same chair.
And you don’t let family go.