September 29, 2012 in Washington Voices

Some charms tougher than others to break

By The Spokesman-Review
 

I think of it as the peripatetic dresser.

When I was little, my parents bought my sister and me a set of solid maple early American bedroom furniture, including a wide dresser with a framed mirror, a chest of drawers, and a desk. Although not top of the line, the furniture was nicely made and we took good care of it. When my sister left for college, my brother inherited the chest and desk. When I moved out the dresser went with me and I carted it to four different apartments.

When Richard and I married it became our dresser. Neither of us liked early American decor, having grown up with copper chickens, prissy fluted lampshades, clunky milk glass, skirted chairs and other fussery. But the dresser had clean lines and as we couldn’t afford to buy a new one, in our bedroom it stayed, enduring Richard’s occasional sarcastic asides.

The dresser traveled with us here to Spokane Valley, gracing our bedroom first in an apartment and in our first two homes. Then we finally bought some bedroom furniture and the dresser went downstairs to the guest room, banished for its early American sins. Since moving to our present house a decade ago, it’s held court in our basement storage room as a repository for odds and ends.

That dresser has one whopper of a Sticking Charm on it. It’s been attached to me like a barnacle for more than half a century.

Sticking Charms in the world of Harry Potter are like wizarding superglue. When Richard’s mother died last fall and we cleaned out her home, we contemplated what it would be like to excavate our own house full of Sticking Charms on things we’ve kept out of guilt, sentiment, falsely perceived need and procrastination. We embarked on what we call the Sticking Charm Project and have been busy removing Sticking Charms on things ever since.

Since my last update in March we’ve purged a lot of stuff. After eliminating excess Christmas ornaments and décor, I heartlessly dumped calendars kept for their artwork and diarylike notations, and my high school art portfolio. And why was I keeping a bag of unused athletic shoe insoles? I scoured everything from my box of childhood things except for my charming red plastic cowboy hat cereal bowl and boot cup. I have no idea what to do with a full brownie uniform, including beanie.

As we’re both klutzes who’ve suffered breaks, sprains, and numerous injuries, we’d amassed a huge collection of splints, casts, braces, wraps and blue ices. “We’ve got a freakin’ medical supply house down here!” I complained as we boxed them for an upcoming garage sale. Holding up a sling I asked, “Do you think someone will want this?” Exasperated, Richard replied, “I’m sure someone wants it but they don’t live here!”

Our Sticking Charm garage sale in June was a great success and we enjoyed chatting with the many people who stopped by, relieving us of quite a few goods. Rick’s childhood cat collection was a hit and one jolly lady enthusiastically swept up every cat item we had.

Next I tackled the downstairs off-season clothes closet, full of “in case” Sticking Charms. I’m embarrassed to admit that I took four trash bags full of gently used clothing to a donation center and am down to clothes I actually wear.

I thought that would be it for a while, But then, to my own amazement, I decided it was time for my dresser to go. Richard was flabbergasted because I’ve never considered parting with it. Not that he won’t be happy to see the last vestige of early Americana at our house follow my mom’s wretched milk glass out the door.

My peripatetic dresser will move again, this time without me. It’s in good condition and I intend to sell it next spring. It will begin a new story with another family and perhaps someday be a prized antique. I may even shed a tear when it goes, but go it will.

As Richard said, “I’m sure someone wants it, but they don’t live here!”

You can reach Deborah Chan at tabbytoes@comcast.net. Previous columns are available at spokesman.com/ columnists.

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