Sunday, 11 October 2015

A Great Love

Here's what wrung my heart, and nearly brought me to my knees:

My Bookcase
Now no longer mine.  I remember the day we first brought it home  - like bringing home a new baby. It was for my personal use.  This was thirty five years ago.  We had just bought an old stone house in a deeply unfashionable suburb of Leeds, and wanted some antique furniture to put in it.
We then moved to a brand-new house, and although the bookcase did not fit the period, we kept it, as most of our furniture consisted of ancient hand-me-downs anyway.  Over the next thirty years, the hand-me-downs went, one by one, and finally, the house now being decorated and furnished in contemporary styles,  my husband got rid of the bookcase.
He sent it to be stripped, according to the advice given by a Laura Ashley design consultant who visited the house, and it never came back inside.  This would have required it being reassembled, which I waited patiently for him to do, eventually realising that he had no intention of so doing.
It languished in the garage for five years, miraculously avoiding ruination by damp (my husband is not totally heartless - he carefully wrapped all the dismantled parts up in bubble-wrap). 
Then our younger daughter acquired, within the space of a year, a serious boyfriend and a Victorian house.  The boyfriend is full of energy and totally practical - he owns a sanding machine, and can fix shelves.  I ventured to suggest, cautiously, emphasising that there was no obligation, that they might like the bookcase as it would fit their décor and period home rather well.
They agreed!  The boyfriend's extensive contacts book included a removal man who would take the dismantled parts, (free), from the East Midlands to the Sussex coast, in an empty van intended for the return journey.
The boyfriend put it all together again, bought some new dowelling to put the internal shelves back up, and sanded the whole thing smooth.  The stripping process had left it a bit raw.
When we visited in September , and I saw my bookcase standing proudly in their sitting room, full of their books, I nearly cried.  It was a moment of strong emotion.  I wanted it back, of course.  And looking at it there brought back so many memories, of the various stages it had gone through in our lives.  A repository for professional study materials, a children's toy cupboard, a place for storing sewing materials.  As well as a bookcase of course.
I was so pleased it had found a loving home, a place where it is appreciated and cared for.  Secretly I hope that a new generation will use it as a toy cupboard again.  I haven't uttered a word, of course.


  1. What a lovely story. Your bookcase is now safe and warm and sound in its new surroundings. I'm sure eventually, it will be adorned with toys and all sorts of fingermarks and maybe the odd crayon drawing or two. Fingers crossed.

  2. Oh, I can empathise with your feelings! When we moved to our present, much smaller, house we had to part with all my favourite furniture in the interests of practicality: we needed a comfortable sofa, not a Victorian chaise longue, and there was no longer space for the piano. I was very sad to see them go. Lovely, though, that your bookcase is still in the family.

  3. I share your sentimentality for such things, but would take heart from the fact that it's now being loved by someone else...and even better, is that they're relatives so you will have visiting rights!