December 20, 2010

Memories in a Bank and Three Chairs



      Sitting on my living room shelves is a three-column brass bank, waiting for quarters, nickels and dimes to be deposited.

     The bank has a story. I acquired it at in Connellsville, on a nice fall afternoon when my neighbor, Pet Saylor, and I were out “yard saleing.”  The bank, priced at one dollar, caught my eye. When I picked it up, and I turned it over in my hand, I discovered it was filled with change.  Pet and I took it over to the women collecting the money. I showed the contents to them. They were so pleased that they gave me the bank—after removing the change.

     I could have netted myself a three dollar bonus had I simply paid the dollar for it. However, I highly value integrity. Purchasing the bank for one dollar wasn’t the right thing to do. When I see that bank sitting on my shelf, it reminds me of my commitment to integrity and my friend Pet.

     My house is filled with items, like the bank, that tell stories.

     The rocking chair which Monte’s mother used to rock him as an infant sits in our bedroom (to read its story, click on The Old Rocker). His father created it by putting rockers on a plank-seat kitchen chair. We rocked our children and granddaughter while sitting in the chair. Monte still uses the chair, sitting on it to watch television.

     Two chairs sit in our living room. One came from my grandfather, Albert Briskay (aka Adam Borinsky). He told me it was a wedding present to him and his wife, May Isabelle (Mabel) Walker, when they married. It came from a professor. He never mentioned the professor’s name, but it was likely John C. Winterbotham of East Lamoine, Maine, a pastor whom I’ve heard referred to as a professor. Another option is a member of the Lamoine-rooted Young family. I have yet to successfully determine which is correct, but the chair came one of my grandmother’s relatives.

     It was appropriate, my grandfather said, that the chair go from one professor to another (Monte was teaching college physics back then).

      We acquired the second chair, a rocker, in 1988. We lived in New Castle, Pennsylvania, where Monte pastured at Emmanuel United Methodist Church. While there, we had a three-month old foster child, Quinnkeisha.

     We didn’t have a rocking chair. I cannot have an infant in the house without a rocking chair.

     I went to a nearby used furniture barn and saw this claw-footed chair. It looked awkward, with its high arms, but it was so comfy.  The storeowner said someone a deposit on it.

     “Just out of curiosity, what was its price,” I asked.

     “Fifty dollars.”

     “Can I leave my name in case the purchaser doesn’t come for the chair?”

     I left, disappointed that I had “my chair” but it was unobtainable.

     About two weeks later, the phone rang. The storeowner said no one had come to claim the chair. Would I like it?

     “Since you had money down on it, would you split the difference?” I asked.

     I went home with the chair I purchased for forty dollars. No one liked it.

     “It’s ugly,” they said.

     However, every time Quinkeisha needed to be rocked, I had to boot someone out of it. The rule became “whoever has the baby gets the chair.”

     Many other items in our home tell stories. These are not the dispensable, disposable, obsolete-when-purchased items that are so well marketed in today’s world.  What will happen to them when Monte and I no longer have a need for them is questionable. For now, I relish the stories they hold.

     I’m sure you have similar stories hidden in your house. I invite you to share them in the comment box below.



Laurel Mountain Borough, Pennsylvania: Quaint

Jasper Milquetoast: Precious Stone, Physics Teacher

My Childhood Home: 29 Spring St., Portsmouth, N. H.

Eyes of lavender, violet & amethyst

Discovering Hardy Lavender


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