Sandy spent a couple years saving up money for new living room furniture. Our foldout couch crowded the living room and was breaking down, and a chair was looking a bit old. They were still good enough for a local charity to haul away to sell. In January she chose a love seat and a chair in similar designs. Theoretically I had a say in the choice. However, design is her joy, which I leave to her.
When Sandy told her dear friend, whom I will call Lady, she had replaced some furniture, Lady said, “I hope you got rid of that old wooden bench.” She pronounced the word old as if it meant ugly. Lady is like that and you ignore it. She is actually an outstanding person, a long-time successful speaker for those on the margins, for instance getting shelter for the street people of Mankato. Because the Salvation Army does not provide beds or food for women on the streets, five downtown churches take turns offering food and beds, each church serving a week in turn. But that expanded into providing space for men. The SA now requires people who sleep a night there to be sober, to attend church, and to attend Bible study. Sort of conversion by the bed. My cousin who ran the mission in downtown Seattle for years would be horrified, as they would be in Duluth, unless they too have changed. While the churches struggle to provide food and space, the SA has only a small fraction of its 25 beds in use. In a recent modest storm, they closed! Three of the churches opened in a rush. Lady not only offers financial support, at the age of 78 she also often washes the linen and cooks for the meals.
I should tell Lady that the old wooden bench, which is called a settle or settle bench and is a standard fixture of British pubs, has the official British seal of approval. My English aunt came into our home 35 years ago and spotted the bench and exclaimed, “Oh, a settle!” She ran her hands over the top and said, “It is almost perfect, but it needs to be older.” The last part was her joke. She spent the visit sitting on the settle and drinking the Twinings tea we had on hand. A couple years later an English exchange student was at our house and had a similar reaction.
A few years ago Lady told Sandy that she should put this away, meaning after Christmas, but her tone was that it should be put away permanently.
Lady has good taste in clothes, which are often in marked contrast to the tens of carats of diamonds she always wears. When she dresses to the nines, the carat load rises. I imagine that many people think it must be costume jewelry because of the volume. I admit I have a bias against diamonds in droves.
Yes, our furniture and accessories are a mishmash. As you age you shed style in exchange for memories. Lady’s large living room is its own mishmash of stuffy small town museum and waiting room for businesses of dubious merit.
Because they often stay with us, especially the kids, we discussed this change of furniture with our daughter and family. They said the foldout bed was getting too uncomfortable and they could bring blow up mattresses. Last week ninth grade grand daughter out of the blue announced that we were not to think that she and seventh grader Mr. Tuxedo were not coming to stay with us a few times this summer as they always have. She and her brother had many plans for their stays. That was a warm moment, to think they have not grown out of staying with us.
Do you have a name for your interior design style?