The most meaningful antique my mother ever owned was an 1800’s Lincoln rocker. First belonging to her great-aunt Nellie, eventually it was inherited by my grandma. For many years, Mother remembered watching her own mom rest and rock in the chair after a day’s hard work. When the sad time came to close up Grandma’s house in Sisters, Oregon, I knew the rocker was about to find a home in California.
Overjoyed to have the treasure at last, Mother and Daddy refreshed the cherry-wood arms and graceful rockers, then recovered the tattered upholstery. Newly dressed in green Damask, with just enough blue sheen to hint there was a peacock in the room, Mother found the rocking chair irresistible.
Except for one thing. Once seated, Mother was too petite for her feet to find the floor unless she rocked forward. Aggressively. But what if she wanted to relax and read? Or sew? Or file her nails? Without her feet dangling mid-air?
After some thought, Mother purchased a little stool-kit. The dark stain went well with the rocker’s cherry-wood color. And even better – there was a needlepoint project in the mix. The cushion cover was stamped with a pattern of roses and leaves. All in Mother’s favorite fall colors of yellow, peach, and green, perfectly enhancing the rocker’s new Damask upholstery. As if waiting for her careful hand to bring the needlepoint bouquet to life.
I’d never known Mother to attempt needlepoint. But she jumped right in, doing precise work. Once finished, she set the stool in front of the beloved Lincoln rocker. Making herself comfortable, Mother arranged her feet on the little stool and smiled the smile of accomplishment. And of comfort.
From that day forward, the stool was always pushed just under the rocker when not in use and pulled out when needed. She used it daily for more years than I can remember; yet the stool still looks charming. A little worn, perhaps. But for me, the wear is a precious reminder of the comfort it gave my dear Mother for so long.
I think I’ll just leave it be and push it back under the old Lincoln rocker – now mine – right where it belongs.