A day of remembrance…

DragonToday is Halloween.  My kids are almost grown up now, my daughter worked all day in the kennel, and wore cat ears, and my son went off to a party, I don’t think he was dressed as anything.  The days of my Halloween costume mania are gone.  Though I did spend an hour or so this morning trying to talk my friend on the phone, who lives in the next state, through some complex problems with the Halloween costume for her son.  He was going as Max in Where the Wild Things Are.  I was tempted to just hop in the car and drive an hour to help.  I sort of miss those days a little bit.  I made some pretty cool costumes, my favorite was the one I made for my daughter, who after I made it refused to wear it, she was so scared by it.  My son wanted to be a knight in shining armor, so I asked my two year old daughter at the time if she wanted to be a princess to go with my son’s knight in shining armor, and she said in her poutiest voice, “No, don’t want to be a princess, want to be a fire breathing dragon!”  So a fire breathing dragon she was…candy (My son wore it for the photo since she wouldn’t)

I went out early this morning to the grocery store, to pick up the candy.  If I had bought it earlier, I would have probably eaten it.  So I picked up 6 bags, what was I thinking, it was pouring rain and we don’t get many trick or treaters anyway.  But I had to pick up a bag of my favorite Halloween candy, “Mounds”.  That would be dark chocolate covered coconut.  My kids hate them, so I know any left will all be for me.  They prefer the sweet Starbursts, Jolly Ranchers, and Sweet Tarts.

But today isn’t for me about Halloween.  Three years ago today, my best friend, my mother-in-law died, in a nursing home, with my husband and I beside her.  The irony of it being Halloween didn’t escape me.  The hospice nurses were dressed like bumble bees, and after she took her last breath, my husband went to summon the nurses, and in they came, antennae bouncing, in their yellow and black striped outfits, and the absurdity of the whole situation still makes me smile.  As I exited the facility with all of my mother-in-laws belongings in a laundry cart, I had to push my way through the nursing home lobby where a Halloween party with goblins, and Frankenstein, and mummies and ghosts were all milling around.  Surreal is probably an understatement.

rockerSidebar:  When my husband and I got married in 1978, my mother-in-law wanted to give us something special for our wedding, so she gave us a check to purchase a rocking chair for our first house.  My husband and I, and our best man and his wife, who was also in my wedding party, use to frequent auctions, and pick up antiques, refinish them and re-sell them, if we couldn’t use them ourselves.  Both couples had housefuls of antiques, and my husband and I had no problem filling up our first house (the one we still live in) when we bought it back in 1982.  All four of us also took upholstery classes at the Vo-Tech school in Bergen County, back where we had our apartment.  At one of the auctions, not long after my husband and I were married, we picked up a beautiful cherry rocker, that coordinated with some family pieces we had restored.  Over the years, the rocker has moved around the house, but still, it has played a fairly important roll in our lives and those of our children.  Now it sits in the living room next to the wood stove, and I love to sit quietly in the rocker and read, in front of the fire.

Sadly the upholstery on the rocker is showing its age.  Back in May, when I flew to Seattle to visit my friend Robyn Spady, and we took a day trip to Portland, OR, I picked up a lovely upholstery fabric from a Mill End store, at a great price, and it has been sitting folded on the rocker since then.  This morning, after coming down the stairs into the living room, for the 10th time this morning, I stopped and looked at the rocker, and I could hear my mother-in-law’s voice saying to me, “Daryl, this would be a good day to re-upholster the rocker.”  Rocker1

So that’s what I did.  It took most of the day to carefully remove the braiding and the fabric, and the muslin cover because that was so dry rotted.  The wood frame was starting to come unglued, and some of the wood where the tacks held the fabric was splitting apart.  The rocker is showing its age.  The padding was still in good shape, the springs seemed sturdy and have held up from our original upholstery job.  Basically the muslin and the upholstery fabric just needed replacing.  I’m half toying with the idea of making the gimp braid on my inkle loom.  We’ll see how it all looks when I’ve actually finished re-upholstering the rocker.

I haven’t upholstered anything in many years.  I found my tack hammer, which is magnetic on one end, and in the real world, a good upholsterer would put a handful of upholstery tacks in his mouth, and feed them in rapid succession to the magnetic end of the tack hammer with his tongue.  At one time I had gotten pretty good at it, but I’m not trusting myself to be anywhere near competent to try this at home.  And I do remember swallowing a tack once, back in the 70’s, it was the first time I ever appreciated Wonder Bread.  By downing a number of slices, it created a dough ball around the tack, and presumably it is no longer in my body, or if it is, it hasn’t caused me any problems in 30+ years.

Rocker2Rocker3So instead, I just poured out a handful onto the tile hearth of the wood stove, and used the magnetic end of the tack hammer to grab and hammer the tacks in place.  I ended up getting the muslin on the seat and the arm rests recovered.  Pretty good for a days work.

While I worked, I put a pot of chicken soup on the stove to simmer, and I enjoyed the day, hammering away, thinking about my mother-in-law, wondering if she was alive today, what she would think of my kids, and their escapades, and where our lives have taken us in the three years since she died.  I’m thinking about you mom!

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rita R
Rita R
November 1, 2009 9:46 am

You never stop amazing me with all of your great talents!

November 1, 2009 11:20 am

I remember the events at the school where we would go with Eric and Briana to watch them go up on stage and parade with the other children in their age group. Each year, you would ask them what they wanted to be….and then spend days making these incredible costumes……out of pieces would come miracles. And the time you and I watched Briana climb the refigerator, before she could even walk, to get to the candy that was in the bowl on top of the frig……We decided then she would always have a sweet tooth! I miss those days too.… Read more »

Read previous post:
A day of shopping…

Day Two of my excellent Atlantic city Adventure!