Monday, October 22, 2012

IT'S STORY TIME


A lot of things in our home have a story -- this is one!

This wash stand was purchased by my grandparents when they were first married in the early 1900s.  At first, it was used as originally designed in a small farm house without indoor plumbing.  The compartment on the lower right housed the chamber pot!
The top held a wash basin and a pitcher of water along with  other needs for your morning ritual.  It served my grandparents as such until they built the new, large farmhouse with INDOOR plumbing in the early 1920s.  The little washstand was still used as storage and remained in my father's childhood bedroom until the 1960s.
 By 1961, Bob and I had been married for three years and were about to finally graduate from college and move to our first unfurnished apartment.  I was scrounging for furniture as we had nothing.  Grandma said we could have the washstand.  At some point, there had been a small fire at the farmhouse -- just a lot of smoke damage.  Grandma's solution to the smoke smell was to paint everything (two or three times!!).  So we inherited the washstand with several coats of paint on it.  No one in the 1960s embraced painted chippy furniture, so I proceeded to strip and refinish the wash stand.  In doing so, I realized that the towel bar was missing, but we still enjoyed the storage it provided for a lot of years.
 Fast forward twenty years -- In the intervening years Grandma had moved out of the farmhouse.  My parents had moved in; then subsequently sold the farm.  Another five years had passed, and the farm was for sale again.  At this time, my Dad told me that the house was empty; and asked if I wanted to go see it with him.  It was an eerie experience seeing the old house after other people had lived there; and it was completely empty -- not even a curtain rod left -- just a lot of dust bunnies.  Daddy and I toured every room reliving old memories.  We were ready to leave when I decided to take a look in the attic.  I couldn't believe my eyes -- there on a nail on a rafter was hanging the towel bar for my washstand.  Not another thing left in that huge, old house, after all those years but my TOWEL BAR!!  I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
The washstand has now resided in our home for over 50 years, 30 of those years reunited with its original towel bar.  Today, it is holding things that remind me of the old farm --
 including the chamber pot that my Dad "borrowed" from the Shirley Savoy Hotel in Denver on his senior class trip in 1931.

Please check out the following blogs for a bunch of inspiration.
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia for Tuesday Treasures
A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursday
No Minimalist Here for Thursday Open House
Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
Miss Mustard Seed for Furniture Feature Friday
Homespun Happenings for Rustic Restorations Weekend


19 comments:

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Your washstand is fabulous, I love it and your beautiful vignette. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

Andrea at Opulent Cottage said...

What an incredible story! I hope that where ever the wash stand goes next, your wonderful story stays with it :)
xo, Andrea

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

This story and history of your wash stand is just awesome Sally..These are the kind of pieces you can't put a price tag on..Love the wash stand and the bit of family history my dear friend..GREAT post..Hugs and smiles Gloria

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

Oh what an AWESOME post!

I too got goodseflesh on my arms reading about that towel bar.

It was destiny - and you are the heirloom keeper, definately.

What an awesome piece of furniture - I have my mother's, very nearly like yours - no towelbar and don't think it ever had one - ?

Marilyn said...

Love the bit about the senior trip souvenir. I have a wash stand, but my mom is using it right now to hold her microwave. I'll have to go hunting for the towel bar--it's either here or there. Yours certainly has a more interesting story!

Conferences this week, so it will be a long one. Can't really understand how fast time flies.♥♫

Tammy said...

What a great story! SO were you allowed to just take the towel bar from the house while visiting the empty house? Love that piece and the memories too!

Stephanie said...

What a precious story! Thanks for sharing :) Have a wonderful week!

Hugs,
Stephanie

sweet violets said...

What a wonderful story and a great piece of furniture!!! So glad you stripped it of the paint. These snippets of history do not need paint!!! Such precious memories...

laurie said...

Sally, what an amazing story! the washstand is beautiful, but the fact that it came from your grandparents home and the story about the towel bar make it even more special. Enjoyed your post. laurie

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

I love your washstand. And your story is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Jocelyn @
http://justalittlesouthernhospitality.blogspot.com/

Mabel Jane's said...

I can remember my mother painting many a piece of antique furniture years ago and not giving it a thought. What a treasure you have with your washstand and how exciting that you were blessed to find the towel bar in the attic! Thanks for sharing...Blessings...Pam

Sue said...

another one of your wonderful family stories.....see you have all this great stuff that has been down and what have I got.....a box of a bunch of Cabbage PAtch dolls that not even Sophie wants.....
the wash stand is lovely....We do have an old icebox that was my uncles....the Boss took out the wood panels on the larger of the three doors in front replacing it with glass and I store all my cookbooks in it....it's very cool but we probably never should have tampered with it....

Debra said...

I so enjoyed this story and the pictures of your heirloom.

AND I had to laugh. YOU stripped off the paint and I would have done the same. Now, people would paint and distress it. Next gen would strip that off / I think what goes around comes around in decor as well as fashion

It's just lovely though...and a lovely story to go with it :)

Apple of His Eye said...

I really enjoyed the story that piece of furniture holds in your family. What history! Very interesting. I was drawn to the picture and had to read it.

Thank you for sharing it.

Kelly said...

That is so nice that you have those keepsakes from your family to hang on to and enjoy. It's nice that you know the story behind them as well. I have old pieces that I wish I knew the story behind them.

Chatelaine said...

What a great story. And how amazing that you found your towel bar in an empty house. That is a cool piece of furniture.

lvroftiques said...

That's a great story! And that wash stand was meant to be yours! *winks* Back together at last. What a treasure! Vanna

Janette - The2Seasons said...

Thanks for visiting The 2 Seasons. My mother has a wash stand just like that one. She has had it ever since I can remember. It looks great the way you accessorized it.

SouthernHeart said...

I loved the towel bar story! Beautiful wash stand with memories...