These chairs represent so much of how I knew my grandfather, Howard, and how I know myself that it astounds me.
The memories they trigger of my grandfather are his love of woodworking, the smell of his workshop, the tools, the sound of a lathe. The tiny table that goes with these chairs looks exactly like the table that we ate on every night, also made by him. Which was exactly like the one he and my grandmother used in their home since as long as I could remember, also made by him. His creations weren't elaborate, they were simple and useful. Cutting boards, tables, frames. The most detailed piece he ever made was a china cabinet for my mother, lots of love went into that!
These small chairs take me back to his workshop that took up the entire garage of their home. Sawdust covered everything! My brother and I treated that place like a giant treasure chest. Finding bits of wood to build castles, discovering every nook and cranny to hide in, to let our imaginations run wild in. That place was special. I can see him reaching for a cold Shiner in the fridge near his work space. His play equaled our play.
I loved that doll house and would spend hours in front of it. My daughters have enjoyed this same furniture in a different dollhouse. They did not obsess over it quite as much as I did. I would move the furniture from the dollhouse to different locations around our home to get better lighting, an improved floor plan, etc.
As an adult I have been accused of being a drive-by voyeur. I love driving through a neighborhood at night and glancing into lighted, unshaded windows. What are those people doing? What moment of life are they playing out? Are they happy? It's like looking into the essence of life, similar to peeking into a tiny dollhouse and seeing a moment of time captured.
If I could pick each person in the home up, and treat my voyeur homes like a dollhouse, I would seat everyone around this dining room table with a plastic turkey!
All thanks to my grandfather's gift of a tiny dining set. I hope this set sees many more generations. It is certainly sturdy enough to survive. I have supplemented the dollhouse with other store-bought pieces over the years, and most of those have been broken down in a child's enthusiastic play.
Ironically, I realized after I drafted this, that I had used my youngest's book titled "The Mouse Mansion" as a flat surface to write on from the couch. A visually wonderful book by Karina Schaapman, it is all about an elaborate, intricate, amazing dollhouse that little clothe mice live in - just the sort of thing I would spend hours pouring over!
Copyright (c) 2016, Family at Your Fingertips, Jodi Bash