From dressers to tresses / De cómodas a trenzas

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

Our bedroom furniture is from IKEA, purchased when we arrived in Spain in 2011 having sold or given away most of our old furniture. I’d love to replace it (but can’t be bothered). I always loved my parents’ bedroom furniture. Cool design, high quality, and exceptional storage. I found the original receipt (my mother saved everything). My parents paid $1,46o in 1950, which in today’s dollars is about $18,000. This was good furniture.

Our three bedrooms are small. Those dressers together were 7 feet long (more than 2 meters) and extra deep. The night tables were about double the size of ours. The headboard was made for a double bed, so too small for my parents bed after around 1964. We were tempted to ship the furniture here, but given the size and weight, and the cost of shipping, we decided against it. Some days (but only some) I wish we had them. Touching up the wood would have been easy, as would replating the drawer pulls. Ah well.

My maternal grandfather received many things from his old synagogue when it closed in the ’60s. My mother had a pair of 19th-century brass candlesticks from Poland, which we now have. A number of family members got individual chairs from the synagogue. My mother had two. Some had ornately carved backs, while my mother’s were upholstered in old, faded burgundy mohair. My father did a half-assed job refinishing the chairs (not his forte) and my mother had them reupholstered in red silk. The chairs were uncomfortable and not intended for casual seating. Plus, most asses slid off the silk. Mohair was more practical. The wood trim atop the chairs didn’t match and only one had a decorative brace (to match) between the front legs, which my father removed. We may not have the chairs, but I have the brace on my office wall.

When my sister, Dale, visited New York on her own from England in 1973 (she was a few months pregnant at the time), she had her long hair cut into a genderless, super-short style that she rocked (and her husband, a traditionalist, hated). My mother kept those long tresses wrapped in paper all those years. I was tempted to keep them myself, but didn’t. No regrets, just memories.

I’m about to head into Málaga for the afternoon. So, tomorrow I’ll be back with more new (and old) things to share. Plus, I learned a bit more about the digs going on at Sohail Castle here in Fuengirola and will share that, as well.

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Nuestros muebles de dormitorio son de IKEA, comprados cuando llegamos a España en 2011 habiendo vendido o regalado la mayoría de nuestros muebles antiguos. Me encantaría reemplazarlo (pero no puedo molestarme). Siempre me gustaron los muebles del dormitorio de mis padres. Diseño moderno, alta calidad y almacenamiento excepcional. Encontré el recibo original (mi madre guardó todo). Mis padres pagaban $1,460 en 1950, que en dólares de hoy son unos $18,000. Este era un buen mueble.

Nuestros tres dormitorios son pequeños. Esas cómodas juntas medían 7 pies de largo (más de 2 metros) y eran más profundas. Las mesas de luz eran el doble de grandes que las nuestras. La cabecera se hizo para una cama doble, por lo que era demasiado pequeña para la cama de mis padres después de 1964. Tuvimos la tentación de enviar los muebles aquí, pero dado el tamaño y el peso, y el costo del envío, decidimos no hacerlo. Algunos días (pero solo algunos) ojalá los tuviéramos. Retocar la madera habría sido fácil, al igual que volver a enchapar los tiradores de los cajones. Ah bueno.

Mi abuelo materno recibió muchas cosas de su antigua sinagoga cuando cerró en los años 60. Mi madre tenía un par de candelabros de latón del siglo XIX de Polonia, que ahora tenemos. Varios miembros de la familia obtuvieron sillas individuales de la sinagoga. Mi madre tenía dos. Algunas tenían respaldos ornamentados y tallados, mientras que las de mi madre estaban tapizadas con mohair burdeos viejo y descolorido. Mi padre hizo un trabajo a medias restaurando las sillas (no es su fuerte) y mi madre las volvió a tapizar en seda roja. Las sillas eran incómodas y no estaban destinadas a asientos informales. Además, la mayoría de los culos se deslizaron fuera de la seda. Mohair era más práctico. La moldura de madera de la parte superior de las sillas no hacía juego y solo una tenía un tirante decorativo (a juego) entre las patas delanteras, que mi padre quitó. Puede que no tengamos las sillas, pero tengo la abrazadera en la pared de mi oficina.

Cuando mi hermana, Dale, visitó Nueva York sola desde Inglaterra en 1973 (estaba embarazada de unos meses en ese momento), se cortó el cabello largo en un estilo supercorto sin género que lució (y su esposo, un tradicionalista, odiado). Mi madre mantuvo esos largos mechones envueltos en papel todos esos años. Tuve la tentación de quedármelos yo mismo, pero no lo hice. Sin remordimientos, solo recuerdos.

Estoy a punto de ir a Málaga por la tarde. Entonces, mañana regresaré con más cosas nuevas (y viejas) para compartir. Además, aprendí un poco más sobre las excavaciones que se están realizando en el Castillo Sohail aquí en Fuengirola y también lo compartiré.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

20 thoughts on “From dressers to tresses / De cómodas a trenzas”

  1. In the victorian era there were artists who would weave hair in lace, or flowers, a lost art these days. That was nice furniture and heavy. I bought a modern walnut bed a few years ago, I enjoy it.

    1. David:
      I’ve seen that hair art in museums over the years. I actually thought of it, but then thought 1) It would be creepy and 2) I don’t have the skills.

  2. Beautifully well-made old furniture is not what is wanted nowadays for exactly the same reasons you stated…….too heavy and big.
    When my MIL’s estate was being settled we too had tough decisions to make……..what to keep and what to send to auction. We kept only what we would use and a few ‘personal’ items that meant something to Ron. We use and see these items daily and are happy they were kept.
    Your sister’s ‘long tresses’ was a tough decision I am sure. But a good one I feel.

    1. Jim:
      You’re so right. We had some amazing furniture and no one wanted it. Such a shame. It was interesting to see and touch Dale’s hair, but keeping it just felt odd to me. My mother didn’t throw anything away (except for the things I would have liked to have had now).

  3. Solid, well-made furniture. Dale had lovely hair. During the 1800s women often kept their hair and sometimes it was used to make framed designs. We can’t keep everything because we have so much and it’s too expensive to move it all around. I didn’t get much when my mom died. She was mad at me the last year of her life and did not leave me the one thing that I wanted. When we split up things that weren’t left to specific people, one of my sisters and her young adult daughter snatched up everything they could, not because they wanted to keep the stuff, but to sell it. I refused to get involved. People can be so disgusting after a death.

    Love,
    Janie

    1. janiejunebug:
      I thought of keep the hair and trying my hand at creating art but I decided it would be creepy and I didn’t have the time to learn how to make hair art anyway. Yes, people CAN be disgusting after death (and before). When my aunt died, my cousins circled like vultures. I was the closest with her, but decided I wanted nothing to do with the feeding frenzy (and there was a lot to feed on). I can’t deny it still pisses me off.

  4. I have a long blonde lock of my grandfather’s hair from when he was about 4 or 5. (He was born in 1893, a late in life baby, and died in 1967.) I also have a photo of him pre-haircut where he’s wearing a kind of Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit with short pants, a jacket, and frilly shirt. He was standing very stiffly with one arm resting on a chair. He was not amused. I always tell my daughter I saw that same expression on her face often when she was about the same age.

    1. TexasTrailerParkTrash:
      I remember a bronzed bootie attached to a frame containing a beautiful golden curl belonging to my uncle (born in 1900) and him in his Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit!

  5. I love old heavy wooden furniture, except for the times we moved into two story homes. Heavy dressers and stairs just don’t mesh well. We gave the dresser and armoire to our next door neighbor at our last house. It’s just not good when your furniture is bigger than your house! I also refused to move that stuff ever again.
    I never understood the hair saving stuff. Cultural differences maybe? I clip shave my head every two or three months. I could save it for my kids and grandkids, but I don’t think they’d be interested in keeping geriatric, gray faux tribbles around the house.
    My cave calls me.

    1. Deedles:
      All my parents original furniture was of that massive and heavy solid-wood style. They had a 9-foot sofa that didn’t fit in the elevator and had to be carried up 17 flights of stairs in 1964. My mother was so proud of my father for giving the guys a beer and an extra $5 tip. (Dear god.) Hope the cave is soothing. I think I need mine, too.

  6. It is indeed a shame such grand furniture needed to go, but needs must… All that was left when my Nan passed away was her “display cabinet” filled with coloured glasses and knick-knacks – and even that was too much for any of our family to accommodate, so was basically left for the benefit of the residents/staff of the nursing home where she died. Nobody in our family, however, ever had anything resembling “antiques” to pass down. Jx

    1. Jon:
      My aunt who died after my mother had an apartment filled with valuable antiques. My cousins, who mostly had nothing to do with her when she was alive, pounced when she died. I stayed here in Spain — annoyed, but out of the way of their greed.

  7. That dresser is a beauty, and the candlesticks are amazing!
    I’m an only child whose mother and grandmother really liked to hang on to things. The result of dealing with all of it is that I’ve become pretty unsentimental.

    1. Chrissoup:
      Very happy to have the candlesticks. Wouldn’t mind having the dressers. I spent the later years of my mother’s life cleaning house whenever she was in hospital and I spent longs periods in her apartment. But there was only so much crap I could get rid of without her approval. She was grateful for the clean-up… until she felt better and then she complained.

    1. Kirk:
      Our problem exactly. The dresser would fit. The night tables would not. The headboard would leave no room to pass by the foot of the bed.

  8. Well, you can’t save everything, right? My grandmother had a bunch of beautiful mahogany furniture, and when she died half went to my mom, but my brother has slowly been selling it or otherwise disposing of it. It doesn’t fit his house and I can hardly afford to schlep it to England.

    At least you have the candlesticks.

    I know saving hair was a thing back in the old days, but it seems macabre to me.

    1. Steve:
      My mother did save everything, which is what caused me to be so compulsive about getting rid of things. Yes, the candlesticks were easy. My mother never saved hair and Dale went from very long to short many times. I don’t know what prompted her to save it that time.

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