Today I went to pick up a bookcase I nabbed at a garage sale for $15. It was exactly the style I’ve been looking for and at just the right price.
The people I bought it from were cleaning out their family home. I spoke to the mother, an elderly woman, probably close to 80, who told me she and her husband had built the house with their own hands. They had lived there for over 40 years. She had a tear in her eye when she told me that.
The woman was there with her family, grown up children, older than me and I thought that maybe her husband had passed away and that is why she was moving. She said “I never thought I’d be moving to a retirement home”. I said “it goes quickly doesn’t it”. Her daughter smiled at me and said “mum thought she’d never get old.. like all of us”
It got me thinking, particularly in light of tragic news stories that have emerged in the past couple of days. Life’s so short. Even for those of us lucky enough to live for 80, 90, 100 years. It just goes by so swiftly. I remember those nights when I had unsettled babies who cried and cried and I thought those nights would never end. And when they were little and we went everywhere together and then school started for one and then the other and now I am hurtling towards 45 and I think, but I was just in my 20’s a moment ago.
I try not to wish my life away, to be present in the moment but I long for the weekends when my girls are home with me so that I don’t miss out on this precious time with them. The irony is that in order to get to the weekends, the weeks, the time must fly by.
As this very sweet family helped me load the bookcase into my car they told me that it had been custom made for their family home. That it was made of solid hard wood, that it had been well crafted. I assured them it was exactly what I had been looking for, as though it had been custom made for my home. Custom found if you will.
This is why I like to buy old furniture. It comes with a history of owners past and I will add my history to it as well. I love that this kind of furniture is settled and already house broken. The much older pieces I find are always sturdy and made to last. I love making them my own. I feel privileged to bring them into my family.