This little desk, just five-feet tall, has followed me around all my life. My mother told me it was made by her great-grandfather (photographed below with his wife). It must be at least 150 years old, or twice my age. Neither of my parents used it as a desk—it wasn’t sturdy enough to hold Mother’s typewriter, and my six-foot-plus dad couldn’t possibly fit his legs under the fold-down writing table. It was just an odd piece of furniture that got stuck in any available corner until ultimately it landed in my childhood bedroom.
I loved it, especially the little nooks and crannies behind the writing table, though I couldn’t and still haven’t figured out which papers and writing tools should go where. I remember storing my potato-head game in the bottom cabinet and then forgetting about it. Months later, a peculiar smell suggested I ought to clean out the desk, where I found a disgustingly wizened potato-head.
At one time, I was told, hinged glass doors covered the desk’s book shelves. When the doors broke, a gentleman in my dad’s church offered to fix them and took them away. His life got complicated when he was sent to prison for tax evasion, and the doors were never recovered.
The desk comes apart in two places so I can easily move it without help. Those moves have taken a toll. The wood protested when, after existing for ten years in the damp
environment of a Puget Sound island, it was abruptly moved to the arid Okanogan Valley. That was forty years ago. It’s still hanging in here with me, and I with it.
(To celebrate my 75th birthday this month, I’m posting daily stories about the stuff I’ve acquired over a lifetime and can’t let go of. I invite you to consider and possibly share the stories that make you treasure your own stuff.)