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History

History

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Our Family Rocking Chair

ladderbackThe centerpiece of our house is this ladderback rocking chair built in the 1760’s.

My first glimpse of it was when I was 11 years old (summer of 1963) when we took a family cross-country trip to visit my Great Aunt Flo. Aunt Flo lived in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in the very northeastern part of the state.  After having lunch in New Hampshire, some 20 minutes away, we took Aunt Flo back to the “Old Ladies Home”( http://www.stevens-bennett.org/about_history.htm) where she lived.  As we were leaving, she asked my dad to take the chair to one of his three sisters in Duluth, Minnesota, on the way home to California.   My father said that if he was taking it, he was taking it all of the way to California.  She said OK.  Somehow my dad fit it into his brand new light -blue Plymouth Valiant station wagon (with push button gear shift to the left of the steering column), with all of the other suitcases in the back of the car, etc., for a month long road trip with me, my mom and dad and my one older brother, and we made it all the way to California with the chair!

Twenty years ago, my parents wrote a letter. They knew that the chair would literally be the one thing that would be fought over after their passing. The letter, placed in their safe deposit box and discussed with NO ONE, stipulated that whichever grandson (of four) gets married first, inherits the rocking chair.

Sadly, my parents both passed in 2013….”bookending the year.” Per their request, our family rocking chair has been passed on to my son Kevin and his wife Megan, although it sits in our house for safekeeping (they have littles). Selfishly, I suppose I am a bit reluctant to have it leave our house.

We have the genealogy for this chair dating back to the 1760’s. From my great, great, great grandmother to my son Kevin. Sometimes you can get lost in the, “if rocking chairs could talk” fantasy. So many important milestones in life are reached in a rocking chair. Pregnant mothers rock their babies. Children are nursed and rocked to sleep in them. Kids learn to read rocking in their parents’ or grandparents’ laps. Grade school kids rock in them to have fond memories of the things above. Teenagers rock in them to ease their stress. College kids come home from school on breaks and rock and have fond memories. Twenty-thirty somethings receive the chair as an heirloom and perhaps have children and the process starts over. Retirees rock on their porch and read with a glass of lemonade and keep track of what’s happening in the neighborhood. They have all happened in our family rocking chair. They are highly likely to happen in Your Family Rocking Chair, too.

My hope is that in 200 years someone in your family will feel the same way I feel about our 200 year old Family Rocking Chair, because you took the time to appreciate and leave a “meaningful legacy that rocks!”

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