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The Old Cherry Dresser

July 8, 2011

A little pick-me-up, everybody needs one now and then, even stolid old furniture.  Three generations ago, on my mother’s side, a woman named Wilda E. Smart had a big, cherry-wood chest of drawers.  This bureau may have been the nicest thing about Wilda.  Family stories do not characterize her to be a cookie-baking grandma.  In fact, when her son-in-law suggested something about throwing her under a trolley, her own husband’s response was no stronger than, “Aw, George, you oughtn’t do that.”  So when the old bat was safely in the ground, my sweet, dear grand aunt came into possession of the cherry-wood dresser.  Which she promptly painted in the latest style, white with a gold wash.  She wasn’t the least bit a spiteful woman… normally.  I believe the thing must have been pleased to have a fresh start, as it were, in gentler company.

Time for a changeMany years later, when Aunt Oie had gone on to her reward, I found myself with an extremely useful and voluminous chest of drawers; useful, voluminous, and atrocious to behold.  So the old cherry dresser had another makeover, stripped down to her plain beautiful self.  The hardware was a bit hopeless though, but being of non-standard dimensions, difficult to replace.  Fine.  I painted it all plain, clean white.  It lent a splash of excitement against the darkness of the cherry-wood.  I’d seen the look in a magazine.

Many more years and moves after that, and countless decisions to leave the heavy, bulky albatross behind, she remains with me and faithfully contains much of my way-too-large wardrobe.  She’s well-made and so functional, I just keep on keeping her.  But the man’s aesthetic sense is agitated by the white hardware.  Granted, it is at this point rather beaten and bedraggled.

Interwebs to the rescue!  I have no memory of how DLawless Hardware of Olney, Illinois crossed my plane of consciousness (e.g. laptop screen), but there they were, with a section of Irregular Sizes.  Bingo.  In no time at all, the nice, new pewter drawer pulls were here and installed and the old cherry dresser is as pleased with herself as a southern lady with a new hat.New Accessories!

It is not generally my way to replace anything that still functions.  The old pulls did indeed open the drawers, so the few dollars spent on the new hardware, albeit marked-down absurdly, still felt like a splurge.  And they are so pretty.  Right, if every 20 years, such a small investment breathes new life into the old thing, we may be together until I have been promoted to Glory and she moves on to one niece or another who will give her a make-over and call the old cherry dresser her own.

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