Teaching the Next Generation
Can I share with you where I think we all went wrong? When income and furniture became disposable. That’s when people stopped buying quality pieces of furniture with classic lines that would last them a lifetime, in favor of the latest fashion that was cobbled together from pressed plywood and laminate. Easily shipped in a flat pack and assembled with an Allen wrench.
Older pieces of furniture were no longer treated with the respect the deserved. Instead, they were deemed old, ugly, and outdated. All of that may be true but any piece of quality furniture can be given a facelift.
My daughter hides her face in embarrassment when I pull over to the side of the road to pick up a chair or a table that someone has out next to their trash. She cringes at the thought of someone seeing her mom pull furniture out of a dumpster or ask people who get new furniture what they’re planning to do with their old pieces.
In spite of her embarrassment, I hope I’m teaching her that furniture doesn’t need to be thrown away because it shows signs of a little wear. There is still life in these pieces.
After all, I learned this from the OG (or Old Guy as my Dad prefers to be known). I remember going to the dump and pulling an old rocking chair that was in pieces out of the trash. He re-glued, repaired, and re-stained that piece and it became a showpiece. People offered to buy our little dump rescued rocker.
I remember our school selling old furniture and one of the pieces was an upright piano from the 1800’s that had been painted different colors for each school play over the years (no lie you could see about 50 layers in the chips on this piano) the selling price was $25. Dad took the whole piano apart, stripped all the paint from it and re-stained it. When the piano tuner showed up he offered my parents $700 for the piano. A fortune back then, but they said no because my sister wanted to take piano lessons.
My part of that piano was to clean all the detailed pieces while Dad was at work. With a wire brush, I scrubbed the layers of paint from the intricate carvings that were no longer visible through the glut of paint the school had liberally applied.
What I learned from him then I still use today. I hope that my daughter will come around and understand that just because something was sitting in the garbage doesn’t make it trash. With a little care, a lot of work, and a lot of love most pieces of furniture can be restored or at least re-purposed into something new and beautiful.