Table Talk

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Himebaugh Bros. Inc. Tag

“Himebaugh Bros. Inc. Deliver to: May Co. Cleveland, Ohio” the tag reads. Tucked between the tabletop and base, this document has probably seen the light of day three times since 1930.

Once for each move the table has made. Into my great-grandparent’s home as a young couple with a baby in 1930. Into my grandmother’s home (aka “the baby”) in 1992 after her mother had passed. Into my home last weekend as we finally brought it home.

I would not dream of removing the tag. It is dusted off and left there. A piece of history just tagging along. Like what I did there?

It is the type of heavy walnut furniture that was popular in the early part of the 20th century. It is vaguely gothic with ornate legs with bulbous curves. It is able to sit 10 comfortably and 14 if they all get along very well and no one is left-handed — or everyone is.

History

In my memory, the corners were for highchairs before one was old enough to be demoted (or was it promoted) to the kid’s table. The table spent six decades at my great-grandparent’s home. It was used for countless holiday dinners.

As a child my “job” was to climb underneath the table with a can of furniture polish and a dust rag. It is a testament to how clever my great-grandmother was, or how dumb I was as a child, that I thought that was a real treat.

The next 3 decades, give or take, the table sat at grandmother’s house. It matched nothing in her decor but somehow it still fit.

She actually offered it to me years ago. At the time we lived in a 900 square foot ranch home. If we had brought that table home we would have had to sleep on — or under — it.

Thus we spent many more holidays enjoying the company of our loved ones around this massive table.

My own children were propped up on pillows on chairs just as I had once been, and their grandmother before them, and so on.

Current table

At our home, my table was purchased a few years ago, a sleek glass top, six leather chairs. I really liked the juxtaposition of modern against our old home’s architecture. I like eclectic things, obviously. But, I also like being able to fit everyone around the table.

One issue with this glass top table is that it does not expand. There are no glass “leaves” to add in. We have been blessed with “Significant Other Wonders” for BoyWonder and GirlWonder. Add in a few parents and grandparents and our table for six was a really tight fit.

It was time for the “Lewis” table to come home. Do note that I had brought the matching buffet home a few years earlier. The joke of the day as we set out for the table was that we were getting the band back together!

For decades they had sat side by side. Now they would again.

Party

We went to retrieve it, on my birthday no less. It felt like a party. I think my gram would approve. When it was taken apart — hence finding the label — it had left divots in the carpet of the dining room floor. That says something about the weight of it and how unchanging the placement really was.

It was strapped onto a trailer for the 70-mile trip home. I checked the straps. My mother checked the straps. Mr. Wonderful checked the straps. Then we asked him to check the straps again “just to be safe.”

Ancient artifacts have been moved to museums with less angst. I don’t think I really let out a breath until we had made it 70 miles down the turnpike and safely home.

BoyWonder and Mr. Wonderful hefted it into the house. It was set in the dining room and … big reveal!

For the next 24 hours — I was sure I had made a mistake. Had we made a terrible mistake? Was I going to be the type of person to refuse a family heirloom?

Plan

I slept on it. The idea of it, not the actual table. I woke up feeling excited. I felt the spirit of my very skilled grandmother, and her mother before her within me.

Pinterest has me convinced I can recover all the seats. This despite all evidence to the contrary on my lack of craftiness. Stay tuned for profanity and at least one stapler injury.

There is nothing special about this particular table — and everything special all at once. I just hope to bring it back to life for another six decades or so and cram lots of family, love, and laughter around it — when it seats four — or 14 or more.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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