"My one real furniture splurge this past year was on an antique bed, $250 refinished and delivered, made of beautiful wood. I will have this bed my whole life and it cost the same as a disposable starter bed from Ikea. After I'm dead someone else will buy it and sleep on it. It was made by people who loved what they were doing and cared about it."
Where furniture is concerned, I consider myself greatly blessed. I eat my dinner every night sitting at the same table where I sat to eat my supper at my grandmother's house when I was a child -- we've lost the center leaf somewhere, but otherwise it's just as it was -- and sitting in the same chairs. Right across from me is my grandmother's Hoosier cabinet, that sat in her pantry just off the kitchen and held her flour and her rolling pin and her wooden bowl for bread to rise in and her other baking supplies. At my right hand is the big walnut chest of drawers built for her by one of her brothers; the tall dish cabinet that sat on top of it is in my
brother's house -- which is only fair -- but I remember it well, and I can see it vividly in my mind's eye. And right behind me, with its back to my livingroom couch, is my greatgrandmother's loveseat, that always was at the foot of the bed in my grandmother's bedroom.
The rocker I sit in in my livingroom when we have company is the one I sat in when my grandmother held me in her lap and read me stories, and where she would sometimes rock me to sleep.
The wicker settee and two matching chairs on my front porch are the ones she kept in her "front room"; she had both a front room, for ordinary living and ordinary visitors, and a parlor where the occasional hifalutin company would be entertained. I sat on the wicker when I was visiting her; I do not regret not having the misery-to-sit-on imposing horsehair sofa that was in the parlor.
In my bedroom I have a big old chest of drawers, also built for my grandmother by one of her brothers, and the handmade mirror that hung over it.
In my kitchen, much to my delight, I have my grandmother's pie safe, yet another brother-constructed piece, where she set her pies and other baking to cool, with the doors shut to keep them safe. That pie safe, all these many years later, still smells of cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves and all the good things that go into pies and cakes and cookies and candy and pickled peaches. When I was little I would go open its doors just to smell those spices, even when there was nothing there to eat; I still do.
None of these pieces of furniture is anything valuable; when my brother and I chose things, taking turns, after our grandmother died, my choices were the things I dearly loved, not the things that would be a focus of attention on the Antiques Roadshow. Any of her fancier furniture that did end up in my keeping I gave to my children. What I wanted was those things that reminded me most of being a child in her house, where the one thing I knew beyond all question was that I was absolutely safe
And where my furniture is concerned, I do for sure feel wealthy.