When you’re not quite sure about the story in all its details, yet have sizeable chunks of it stored in your memory, it’s easy for the imagination to take over …
The chair itself, of course, with its wonderful openwork heart in the crest rail, is certainly real enough. We can also be sure about the owner of the chair, who, sad to say, departed this world more than 25 years ago.
But allow me to dream and to reminisce for a while. Maybe it will bring us as close to the truth as we will ever be able to come.
In all likelihood, the chair came originally from Wales and appears to be fashioned in dark stained oak. Early 1800s to judge by its appearance. Wonderfully substantial and held together with wooden dowel joints – a beautiful chair, if you ask me.
In my mind’s eye, I see a little girl, a toddler babbling away in English. She’s dressed in her best white clothes and wears a little crocheted bonnet on her head. It’s summer in England. The little girl’s father has recently passed away. He was married, but not to the child’s mother, so the little girl, born out of wedlock, never actually got to know him. Memories fade quickly at such a tender age.
Maybe she remembered her daddy best as the small legacy bequeathed to her that she received regularly every month throughout her long life.
The chair was hers. Its appearance and the heart in the crest suggest a connection with Wales, the country from which her father hailed, where hearts were a popular and commonly employed decorative element.
It’s easy to lose yourself in daydreams and pay no heed to the tragic circumstances, easy to link one heart to another, even though one is merely an empty space carved out of the wood on the crest of a chair. The desire to gild our memories with a touch of romance and compassion is so human, and I do so wish with all of my own heart that life for the little girl with the chair should have turned out to be happy.
The little girl grew up and, in the course of time, became an old lady who now and again would sit on her wonderful wooden chair.
Regrettably, we never met, but I do know that for some years she had both a cat and hens, was financially secure and enjoyed the pleasure of a delightful old home with many fascinating friends.
By Gun Bjerkander Handberg
This blog is an extension of the beautifully produced hardback books published by Vind & Våg Publishing, where the author shares more tales of inspirational chairs and musing of a four-legged variety! If you enjoy the blog, both books are now available online and at all decerning bookshops. Buy online here
Please Be Seated – Historic Chairs and The Tales They Tell ISBN: 978-0-9927084-7-4
Please Be Seated – More Historic Chairs and The Tales They Tell ISBN:978-0-9927084-8-1