I thought I would look for something written around this same time of year, so I landed upon a journal entry written on October 30, 1990 at 8:21 p.m. However, in my first paragraph of this particular journal entry I referred to a previous entry, written a couple of months earlier, but referring to this same topic..."My Vanity". So, in order to help this little story make sense, I must go back to the previous writing and go from there...please bear with me...this may be a long post!
August 4, 1990:
|My bedroom at the time of this writing, 1990.|
(Remember to click on pictures to enlarge for viewing)
Move ahead to October 30, 1990:
"After re-reading page 80 about my corner of the bedroom, I see I failed to give the details of the history of my newly-refinished vanity. So, just for the record~the lovely mahogany vanity was given to me by my Dad for my 18th birthday~my last birthday at home before I got married! Only when Daddy gave it to me he had "antiqued" it in the popular style of the day~a sort of light avocado green antiquing. It was lovely, he did a wonderful job of finishing it. I was so proud of that gift~the only piece of furniture I was to take with me from my old home to my new home. The only gift I can really remember that my Dad prepared especially for me. I remember the day he bought it. We were shopping at a used furniture and antique store in the little town of Eustis. I bought a special old fashioned plaque for my Mother...to give to her on Mother's Day. It still hangs in her bedroom (at the time of this original writing...I have it back with me now.)
Anyway, as we were browsing around through the dusty, dark storage rooms of used furniture, Daddy discovered this vanity, and called it to my attention. It was rather worn and faded looking, somewhat forlorn among all the cast-off furnishings of days gone by. But it had a "regal" look~a graceful beauty that beckoned to me. I'd never owned a "real" piece of furniture before~my room at home was rather simple~2 twin beds with no headboards, a large desk Daddy had made for my sister Doris and me to share~and a built-in dresser and closet. Neat, but plain. The vanity had curves and style~I loved it~it made me feel like a princess. Daddy bought it. I don't remember how we got it home, but he set to work on it right away~smoothing down the rough edges and scratches~and then the finish~it was beautiful! What a happy birthday it was for me! 18!! I don't remember anything else about that birthday, but about 12 days later I met my husband to be...and less than one year later~we transferred that vanity in a U-Haul trailer from my old home to our new apartment~our first home together! It really didn't match any of our other furnishings, but then, none of our other furniture matched anything else! We set up housekeeping with odds and ends of used furniture~which is another story in itself. My Dad again came to the rescue in seeking out "good sturdy furniture" at a low price! But the vanity stayed with us~through some 24 moves (then...many more now)...from house to house, apartment to house, state to state and back again!
For 21 years it sat in my room and held my jewelry, scarves, perfume, knicknacks and other special memories. The right top drawer had bits of rice that was from our wedding day...
It sustained many knicks and bumps~the antiqued finish began to chip and peel off. The mirror frame sustained a major injury and lost one of its Queen Anne curves~but I held on to it in hopes of someday restoring it.
Finally, after realizing it had become quite an eyesore, I determined to refinish it to its natural beauty. So I began the process of stripping off the green antiquing~under that was a white coat of base paint more stubborn to remove, and under that a coat of varnish-and finally the original mahogany veneer. During the stripping process I accidentally splashed some stripper into my eye and had an awful time waiting for it to heal. You can believe I wore safety goggles after that!
Then we moved again~I had only finished the vanity table...not the mirror or stool. So once again we move it, careful not to put any new scratches on it's freshly stained and tung-oiled surface. It sat in the corner of our new bedroom about eight months without its mirror or stool. Finally during the summer I made up my mind to get it finished once and for all. I took the mirror and stool to a professional stripper to remove the finish. Then I brought it home and stained and oiled it to match the rest. I covered the cushion of the stool to match our new bedspread and drapes, and then I stood back to admire this "old" friend who had become like new again! Transformed into a thing of beauty and pleasure to behold!
|The Refinished Vanity, as she looked at the time of this|
original journal entry in 1990
Oh, I know an antique dealer would probably snicker at the "value" of this piece of furniture~it's really not that old, or that good, but to me it is a treasure chest of memories--an old friend who's been by my bedside now for 22 years (add another 23 to that today!)...a precious link to my past...and my Dad."
Well, today, this vanity has been with me for about 45 years! (I really was only one year old when I first got it! Ha!!!!) It has a few more scratches and bumps and lots of dust. It has traveled quite a journey with me...and I still hope to pass it down along with my Grandma Tedlie's dresser to a granddaughter someday...if I ever get one...(I currently have one wonderful grandson, and he just may have to take it someday) or maybe to a great-granddaughter or niece. I hope this little story will go with it wherever it goes...and that the recipient of this inheritance will possess something even more precious than this story:
|This is how my vanity looks today...a bit cluttered...and|
the bench disappeared sometime ago, and I think I
finally cleaned all the wedding rice out of the drawers.
I also have added an antique chamber pot...just in case...
Here's a link to another story on restoration that you may find interesting as well: "Cracks in My Soul"