# 5135

It hit me right in the feels when she asked. Bam! I did not expect it to have the power it had has. I fall short trying to express how happy I am to see them again; better yet to have them in my house.


This IS happy. It was early and BEFORE coffee. You can’t tell, but I’m sitting on one of those chairs.

It’s a card table and four matching chairs. They are black and white. The table is round. Gives credence to the often proven fact that things are not made they way they were in days of old.

dad-and-moms-table-and-chairs_oct-2016-7They have held up very well. Considering. I am not surprised.

dad-and-moms-table-and-chairs_oct-2016-2At the moment they are stored in my “catch all” room (about to become my winter project, and one that involves this table and chairs).

But, “where did they go” and “why are they back” you may wonder. I sold the set to a friend when my mother moved to Independent Living. My friend no longer has a place for it. In the two and a half years Neale’s had the set I’ve been afraid to ask, was afraid she’d tossed it. I nearly jumped for joy when she asked if I wanted the set. It came home last week.

dad-and-moms-table-and-chairs_oct-2016-3When I say “home,” my heart thumps a bit louder.

Nov 2015_dec-2014_yale-street_a

It was the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table when I was young

dec 2014_yale street

As far back as I can recall, it was in my parents’ home.

dec 2014_the dalles

They work in a pinch when there aren’t enough lawn chairs.

Given my propensity for details, especially an heirloom, I  looked at the under side of the table to see where it came from, possibly a manufacturer.

dad-and-moms-table-and-chairs_oct-2016-1It was part of the Durham line, made in Muncie, Indiana, and, not only did I find those details, I found a description.The Internet says it was made in the 40s.

“Durham construction and styling are your assurance of a sturdy, handsome table, always ready to use.”

No kidding! While I can’t say “handsome” is my first adjective, it does blend well and it’s so VERY RETRO. I do agree with “sturdy” and the “always ready to use” parts. Good to know. And to that end, would you like to help me retro decorate our office? Here’s my four walled dilemma:


Front entry wall


Used to be The Husband’s office, garage is on other side of this wall

No worries, the “measuring wall” will be framed. This is going nowhere.

Have you noticed the flooring? It’s slate tile with gray grout, and it wraps around and stops at the end of the door leading into the garage where it meets hard wood. I LOVE IT.

office-retro-deco_oct-2016-7That’s a half wall the other side of which is an L shaped desk. That will go; the wall stays.


As noted, it has been a catch all room/office. Back wall is a shade darker than the other walls.

I want to do the back wall in faux brick. I’ve been watching videos and looking at various ways to accomplish this. Have you done this? Tips? Pointers?


The final interior wall (and one fabulous son).

I also began a Pinterest board called Retro Deco. I would love it if you sent me ideas. My user name is karenleeh.

Here are some of the other pieces I want to add.

My uncle David built this desk in the late 50s or early 60s, and I’m thinking it would look fabulous under the back window against the “brick” wall. I could finish or leave as is. Thoughts?


Kitchen cupboard in the house where my mother grew up, bottom half.


Kitchen cupboard, top half, upside down.


great grandma Orah and her father, Alfred Josiah Smith

These HAVE TO go on the walls. I’ve had bad hair days, but this? Must go on walls. 😉


Prehistoric backpack?

My grandma Lalla (born in 1898) used this to carry her books to school. It’s been around for as long as I can remember (although I had forgotten what it was used for; good thing my sister’s memory is better than mine).


My other fabulous son cleaning dad’s 50s projector

When this was cleaned, I can’t begin to describe how badly my kitchen stunk, but it was for a great cause. See those tiny yellow boxes? They make up 18, three minute films dad took in the early 50s and sent home while in the navy. After the projector was cleaned, it worked beautifully enabling us to watch all 18 “home movies.”

While it makes for lots (and lots) of stuff, when my mother moved we uncovered many items that could be showcased. Regardless of the other items, I will absolutely put # 5135 front and center in my office turned retro room.

Stay tuned.

  25 comments for “# 5135

  1. October 12, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I’m a fellow packrat; I can’t bear to let things go my loved ones have liked, made, or used that have strayed into my life one way or another. Though I feel no pangs at all about recycling things I’ve purchased that don’t work anymore, anything my mom made to give to me is still in my house, and I treasure each. I think your office will be wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 12, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks! I can really relate to how things take on meaning. I never knew my great grandma but those doilies, those aprons…those letters, they all matter. I have things from my grandma as well and I can’t imagine life without them. Funny because they are just things and we can’t take ’em with us. I think that’s how we hang onto those we love. I’ll do my best to do a smashing job on the office. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. October 10, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Karen Lee,
    I just wanted to tell you that I really love your blog, and I nominated you for the Leibster Award. There’s no pressure to participate, but I would love to read your answers to the questions if you do choose to post about it. Hope your week is off to a great start!
    ~ Lulu

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 10, 2016 at 10:36 am

      Lulu, thank you so very much for the nomination. One never knows how our words will affect others. I am flattered, and I thank you very much. I’ll tackle those questions and fashion it into a post. Your message went to my spam file so I did not see it for a while. Again, THANK YOU. I appreciate your reading and commenting more than you know. ❤ Have a great day! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy
    October 10, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Oh, how I wish I had some of the furniture that belonged to my grandmother. I am sure my mother and aunt tossed it all when they moved her to a nursing home. My parents are not “keepers,” sadly. You are lucky to have all these treasures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 10, 2016 at 8:39 am

      Yes, I come from a very long line of pack rats. LONG line. Do you know that I THOUGHT my parents saved nothing from our grade school work, when in fact, there were boxes? One of these days I’ll post my grade school papers, I think I have one I did on my birthday. Anyway, I am so glad we have our history, but we also have significant other stuff we need to decide upon. I’m lucky, I realize that. We also have furniture from my husband’s side, some dating back to the late 1890s. Great stuff. Have a great day, Amy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy
        October 10, 2016 at 10:04 am

        Treasure it all! I am a packrat myself—but my mother threw out some of my stuff. However, I do have all my Beatles cards, my diaries, my papers from school, most of the letters I’ve gotten, thousands of photos. My kids will probably throw it all away some day. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • October 10, 2016 at 10:52 am

          I had a great thing happen from saving old letters. After I visited Brazil in ’06, I really wanted to find those with whom I’d spend my first summer there, in 1976. I dug up the letters I’d kept from there and retrieved the addresses from their parents. I was not very Internet savvy then and not on FB until later. It helped and from that I reconnected with two of the eight of us. One never knows. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Amy
            October 10, 2016 at 4:43 pm

            Yep—and people in other countries tend not to move around as much as Americans do. That’s great!


  4. October 9, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Wow! You have lots of stuff to work with there. The only piece I had from my parents home was the china cabinet that I just redid. I don’t know anything about retro. It will be interesting to see your progress. I’ll check out your Pinterest site and see if it summons an idea. I’m happy for you in recovering the table and chairs. Those letters must have been quite enlightening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 10, 2016 at 8:37 am

      We acquired so much stuff when mom moved. It’s things I don’t want to throw out, such as really nice linens, some made by my great grandma, grandma, and great aunts. A 50s film projector that works? The film that has somehow been miraculously preserved? The big screen? My parents took very good care of their stuff and it shows (and, yes, it was made better back then). Still, so much I can’t part with, not yet. So, I want a retro room and need to start with that back wall. Do let me know if you have any ideas. I’d love it. I love the china cabinet. You did a great job. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 10, 2016 at 10:11 am

        Glad you liked the cabinet. Not everyone’s style but I liked making use of good pieces of furniture. My brother had all the film from my parents and had it all put on a CD for each of us as a Christmas gift one year. My son has his dad’s old slide projector and all the slides. He is trying to copy the slides to the computer to preserve them. Things like that matter so much. It’s good to take your time going through everything. I have a lot of my mother’s things but nothing is vintage.

        Liked by 1 person

        • October 10, 2016 at 10:55 am

          Yes, this is another project on my growing list. I am glad you have your mother’s things. It matters. Our children will one day think the same… so until then, I’m determined if nothing and will make these creations and collections for them. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. October 9, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Sadly, I have no ideas to offer on how to fit your table and chairs into your house, but I also have no doubts that you will find a way. What a lovely piece of your past to reclaim! I loved the photos of your family around it, and it brought back memories of our own card table and chair set. And just remember, you can use it any way you want, anywhere you want. The important thing is only the fun memories the set brings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 10, 2016 at 8:32 am

      I was bombarded with memories when I saw that set for the first time in a couple years. My friend Neale must have known just how much it meant. I’ll try my best to use it in that room; if I use the desk and cupboard, they will take up significant room. So, we’ll see. I mainly want to know if a faux brick wall will look good on that back wall. The room is 13 feet wide and 12 feet deep. Or maybe it’s the other way around…no wonder I have trouble… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. October 9, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    What a treasure trove! I used to delight in exploring all the old treasures of my grandparents’ home when they were still alive. The equipment in my grandfather’s workshop dated to the ’50s, perhaps. Much of it probably was tossed after he died and the house sold. It was truly tremendous loss when the sale was finally complete. I cried almost as hard then as I did at the funeral. All of those treasures! All of those memories! I inherited the kitchen table and chairs. It is probably as old as your set.

    I can’t wait to see pictures as your project unfolds. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 9, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Good for you to have that table and chairs. It matters, right? Since my father was an only child, he inherited almost all of his mother and step father’s household items. That, plus the stuff from my parents, is what my sister and I now have to go through. Its arduous..but to lose that stuff in a sale would be very difficult. My father became the executor of estate for both is mother’s sisters (neither had children and were widows for many years). Dad, their nephew, was contacted by a neighbor of one–out of state–to let us know she’d found boxes of letters. She wanted to know if we wanted them. Little did we know what we were in for. Hundreds of letters later, we now know what life was like for my father through the eyes of his not-so-kind grandma. A true gem, and thankfully they thought to ask. You never know. So, yes, these items will help me decorate and create a room in honor of my relatives. Should be fun. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 10, 2016 at 7:09 am

        It absolutely matters. They are just material things, and, of course, we can’t take it with us. To lose them in a sale, or a fire, or a flood, or some other event would be, like you said, difficult. Survivable, but difficult, because it does matter. Preserving and passing on these items from the past are a way of honoring our heritage, respecting and loving the people who came before us, and connecting with our stories. Thanks for sharing your story! It helps me to appreciate what might be right before my eyes and to be curious about my own family’s past and how it has influenced our present. Trying to understand how it all fits together seems to be a key ingredient in healing old wounds and building resilience and empathy.

        Liked by 1 person

        • March 21, 2018 at 4:44 pm

          Lulu, this one above went to my trash as well. I am sorry. Yes, I feel very connected to many of these items, and with this table, many wonderful memories surface when seeing the photos and using the table now. It has become a game table at the moment and sits in our family room. We have begun to have more and more game nights here and this table is perfect. Even our cat Gandalf joins in and sits on someone’s lap if he can. Somehow, these old pieces of furniture matter. ❤


  7. October 9, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    What at exciting project Karen. Love the retro table and chair set and I imagine it’ll go beautifully amidst all the other stuff. Can’t say I’ve ever done anything quite like this but I have no doubt you’re going to enjoy doing up the pieces and your place just as you want. Bringing the past into the present, love it! Have fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 9, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks, Miriam. I’ve never tackled anything of this magnitude before, so we shall see how well I can copy. My sister “acquired” the glass doorknobs from the house where we grew up and there are many ways to use those, such as a hanging place for towels in a bathroom. There are so many items I simply need to get busy. 🙂 Will keep you posted. Thanks for the encouragement. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 9, 2016 at 5:38 pm

        So many ways for your creativity to come out Karen! I look forward to getting updates on your progress! Enjoy 😊


        • October 10, 2016 at 8:19 am

          Why are there only 24 hours in a day? Right?!!? Thanks, Miriam. Just don’t look too closely when the pictures show up…;)

          Liked by 1 person

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