Chair Memories – The Gold Recliner

Woodye and Orville Kessler

Yesterday, I suggested a link to my cousin’s poetry blog at wildamorris.blogspot.com. In case you didn’t visit, I’m going to share from it here. Wilda’s poem below got me to thinking about some chairs in my past. Maybe you will do the same. The cute and happy couple on the left are Wilda’s parents (sitting in chairs!).

 

am copying here from Wilda’s blog:

A few years ago, I wrote a poem about a particular piece of furniture, the gold-colored recliner in which I rocked many of my grandchildren. When I see it, I often think of my first grandchild, Florence Irene Penrod, who died shortly before her seventh birthday. She was the first child I rocked to sleep in the recliner. So the chair often brings poignant memories of Florrie. Though the poem only mentions two grandchildren, there were several others I rocked to sleep in that same chair, especially Florrie’s younger siblings who spent a lot of days and nights in my home while their sister was in the hospital. This poem—with the chair as prompt—recalls a journey of healing from loss. The sorrow of losing Florrie will remain with me always, but in time, I recalled more of the beautiful memories and learned to smile when I thought of her.

The Gold Recliner

Does this gold recliner remember
how many times Florrie rested
her head on my shoulder,
how she giggled at funny sounds,
how I sang “Don’t Fence Me In”
and “You Are My Sunshine”
as we rocked and fell into slumber.
Does the recliner know
she’d have been twenty
this year had she lived?

Now Lucas climbs between
the recliner’s enfolding arms,
five-year-old hands grasping
this week’s favorite superhero,
curls his tired body
into the golden lap to rest.

Only a couple years ago
Lucas let me hold him
as we read the same books
each afternoon, and finally one day
I could sing “You Are My Sunshine”
to this other grandchild,
after all those years
it had turned to dust in my throat.

~ Wilda Morris

This poem was first published on the website of Highland Park Poetry, http://www.highlandparkpoetry.org/, after winning in the adult non-resident division of their 2011 Poetry Challenge.

 ****    I will be sharing my “chair memories” in upcoming posts. What about you? Is there a chair in your past or present that elicits memories for you? Are you in possession of a chair that belonged to an ancestor? What do you know of the chair’s history?
Please comment about your chair memories! And if you like to write poetry, enter Wilda’s June Poetry Challenge and write a poem inspired by a piece of furniture. 
I look forward to reading your memories!

4 thoughts on “Chair Memories – The Gold Recliner

  1. Kathy, This is great! Wilda, I love the poem! I am blessed to have my Grandma Kesslers rocking chair. I have many fond memories of Grandma sitting in her rocking chair in the back room. She lived with us for several years before she passed away. Becky and I would go running into her room and find her in her rocking chair. She would always giggle and laugh at us. There is another rocking chair that my mom would sit in and read to Becky, Tom and I. I especially remember the Trixie Beldon and Nancy Drew as well as the Hardy Boys books.

    • Thanks, Alice. It’s great that you have your grandmother’s rocking chair and the memories that go with it! Wilda’s poem has me thinking about the chair I sat in with my kids and a couple of others.

  2. I’m not sure if this is true now, but when we were raising kids a rocker was essential. We had one that Wilma used all the time to rock Brian. They seemed to have a calming effect which would put babies to sleep. I may have used it a few times just for myself.

    • I don’t know what we would have done without a rocking chair. Babies need to rock – and so do we! And it seems like all my memories having to do with chairs involve rocking chairs.

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