One for the twins

It’s just a little thing, passed around and loaned down the years.

Once upon a time, it belonged to a boy. His dad was Chuck and his mom was Susan. Chuck is a Vietnam vet and Susan has been his sweetheart since seventh grade. In their garage sleeps an R60 BMW. Chuck inherited it from his pop, and takes it out for a ride every New Year’s Day. He’ll never give up that bike, but after his boy didn’t fit into it anymore, Chuck passed the tiny rocker along to Pretty Wife — back in her Pretty Single Mom days — for her boy to sit in and rock.

It’s a comforting thing, sometimes, just to sit and rock. It can calm a boy, but he’s not little anymore, either.

With Pretty Wife’s son now my size and Smalldaughter tweening nicely into a force of nature, the sturdy little chair found itself sitting in a dusty corner of the attic over the shop, splotched with random drops of paint and glue, a victim of arts and crafts and time. Can furniture dream of grandkids? Maybe, but with Daughtergirl only partway through negotiating career horizons with her girlfriend and Sonboy just now nosing around in the bright, scary world beyond high school, they had to be quiet, speculative dreams if dreams there were.

Like others — like you — we have friends. Two of them bore a brace of children, fraternal twins delivered at 26-1/2 weeks. Touch and go, that was, but they are robust little crumb snatchers now. Like a machina descending sans deus, down came the chair from its refuge over the rafters.

Although it’s a long way from new, its joints remain tight. A couple of the steam-bent seat strips had delaminated and become a hazard to the navigation of small bottoms, so onto the workbench it went to get some “recaps.” The hemlock we had handy doesn’t match its original wood and the brads we used have broader heads. I also failed to deploy a proper caul under one of my deep C clamps, resulting in a doughnut tattoo too deep to sand out.

None of this matters to a chair. A chair just wants to be sat on, to have a little love and boiled linseed oil rubbed into it, and to come out into the light.

We have another small rocker… actually, it’s a bit bigger than this one. Of course, we’ll bring it along when we go to visit the babies. You can’t bring one rocking chair to two children; this simply isn’t done.

The other chair isn’t just bigger. It’s newer. It hasn’t been on a workbench since it left the factory. It’s taller, and a little flashier, and has no rub marks where we scraped and sanded off the drywall mud of home repairs. It remains unadulterated by humble strips of hemlock.

The little chair has no flash, not a single embellishment to make it stand out. Miraculously, it has escaped tole painting, bedazzling, and initial carving. Perhaps there are benefits to occasionally taking refuge in attics.

It’s not anything special, just a stout little rocker. All it really offers is a bit of the history of three families… and counting.

I wonder which one their kids will like best.

child's rocking chair






  1. All chairs must start out as new chairs with some new child in order to become chairs with history; chairs of legend to future children. I think your chairs will be pleased with their new companions and knights champion.

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