Friday, April 8, 2011

The Red Stool

This stool wasn't always red, and it didn't always reside in my home. It has a history. For years it was stored away in my mother-in-law's garage. It was almost tossed during her last move, but I snatched it up--loving its petite shape and lines.

It used to have scaly white paint (yellowed with age) that dropped to the ground with the slightest touch. The dirty peeling paint relegated it to MY garage. I had hopes of refinishing it myself, but in reality I had no clue how to do it and no real desire to learn. So, when we remodeled a year and a half ago I had Telisa do the job.

I love this stool's present, but I also love its past.
Hazel and Clementina
Memories of this stool began in the 1930s when Clementina (my mother-in-law) was a little girl. Her mother, Hazel, kept it in the bathroom of the Wilmington, NC home that they shared with another family. The house was on Front Street and backed up to the Cape Fear River.
Here is the home in 2002. It was white when Clementina and her family lived there.
Like every dutiful mother, Hazel supervised the bathing of her children. Here she would sit and scrub and scrub. This stool, in particular, is associated with scrubbing behind the ears. For some reason, this hygiene act was most important to Hazel. As they got older and did their own bathing, her children would always be confronted with the question of, "Did you scrub behind your ears?" If their response and inspection proved unsatisfactory, they would be marched back to the tub and receive a thorough behind-the-ears scouring. My mother-in-law is certain that she and her brother had the cleanest ears in town.
Clementina and her brother, Marty
I really do love this stool and not just for it's aesthetic. It's at least 80 years old with a slightly whimsical past. It has traveled far, and I'm so glad it's found a home with me.
(I wonder how well my kids clean behind their ears.)

20 comments:

Dixie Mom said...

What a great story behind that stool...it makes it the more so special. I love stuff like that.
I was not the Mother that reminded my kids to scrub behind the ears....so funny.

Sue said...

Isn't it so much more meaningful when we know the history of a family treasure like that stool? And how cool that you have a photo of the house they lived in!

=)

Marvett Smith said...

I love these old images, and this is my absolute favorite kind of furniture. I love things that tell a story. My home is filled with these same kinds of pieces.

Shannon said...

I love things that have a past, too. Thanks for sharing!

Ginger said...

What a beautiful stool with a great story to go with it! Your kids will be so glad to have these together. When my mother-in-law passed away 15 years ago we went through her things and there were so many items that she had treasured for decades, but none of her children knew the story behind each treasure. It made us all so sad and I decided I would try to give my children the treasures I save for them along with the story behind why I saved them... as soon as they are ready. But until they are ready for them - this is a great way to document the items with the reason it is so important! Thanks so much for sharing this... I love all of your photos... they are treasures as well. :)

Life is good! said...

love the stool. love the stories it comes with. think of the many more stories it will tell through the years. i think every home needs a pop of red!
the quilt on my granddaughters bed was made by my mother. she is busy making another one. i can get a copy of the pattern if you want it. it is sooo darling. let me know. i think she got the fabric at Elaines quilt shop.

Lesa said...

I enjoyed reading this post. I love the 1st picture and the shadow of the red stool. :)

Garden of Egan said...

Love the story!

I think that stool will go anywhere in the house. I love the color.

Patti Hanan said...

I love when things are passed down from generation to generation, and I love old pictures. Thank you for sharing this, Julie :)

Deila said...

That is a great story, and the stool looks beautiful. I love things that have a past. Keepsakes. Great history and photo collection. very nice.

Lacy said...

What a great story! :) I love keepsakes like that. The stool looks great. RED is awesome!

Dean and Sheri said...

I love this post, Julie. It makes me think of a chair I have that was my great-grand father's. Hmmm...

Mrs.Spy said...

Love the history here. Great post and it is important to have things in your home that ground you and make you feel love.
I remind myself this every time I am tempted to replace everything in my house with junk from Ikea. :)

Patty Ann said...

What a wonderful story to share with your family. I love the idea of having things from the past in my home.

Suzanne said...

This is such a heartwarming story and a gorgeous redo! That red is fabulous and I love stories past down from generation to generation!

Samara Link said...

That's awesome. Beautiful story. Cool stool.

Joy For Your Journey said...

What a cute stool!! And what a great story. How wonderful that you have the stool to enjoy!

Utah Mom said...

That is such a great story. I am so glad you rescued the stool. The refinishing turned out beautifully.

Faith, Trust, and a Little Pixie Dust said...

I love a piece with a story behind it! How did kid's ears get so dirty back then anyway?!? The stool looks great.

Warmly, Michelle

Motherboard said...

I love that stool and I love the story even more!

xo