Sharyn has us pondering what could be quite a difficult question for many; I thought I would take forever to think it over,
If you could only keep one piece of furniture - which one would it be, and why?
but actually I didn't take as long as I thought I would because my answer was already right before me - you see twice in my life here on the Central Coast of New South Wales I have been faced with the prospect of loosing everything I owned. The first time was in 1994 when raging bush fires threatened our entire suburb and the authorities evacuated every man, woman and child from our community. At the time I was without a car as John was working in Sydney and couldn't get back due to road closures and I was left alone with a 9 month old baby. I was evacuated with my neighbours, only taking with me a suitcase of belongings and a washing basket piled high with financial records and photo albums.
Only three years ago we were faced with a similar emergency when a large fire was approaching our suburb from a different direction and our home was in direct line of danger. We had more warning this time and with John home housing down the outside walls of our home to quench stray embers I had the task of packing what few precious things I could into the cars in the event we were ordered to leave. Obviously apart from our menagerie of animals, financial records, photo albums, scrapbooks and some personal items from each of us, I was left gazing at my home and wondering what I should take - what couldn't be replaced if our house burnt down. I might love my lounge or my LCD tv but in reality I can go to a department store and buy similar, the original paintings on the walls are one offs I know but ultimately they are covered by insurance and while I might not get that same painting back I could purchase another by the same artist. Our extensive record and CD collection?- difficult I know to reproduce but not impossible. Obviously some things were just out of the question due to size and bulk - the two chests of drawers from the late 1800's that were secondhand when my Grandfather used them as a child - I would be devastated to lose them but I could probably buy similar in an antique store and while they wouldn't have been my family heirlooms I could at least pretend, right?
So what one piece of furniture did I put in my car?
My Grandmothers piano stool; lovingly handmade
for her by my Grandfather so many years ago. The stool that my Mother inherited when my Grandmother had to downsize from her home and move in with my Aunt. The stool that sat in my Mothers bedroom for as long as I can remember until I inherited it when my Father passed away in late 1994 and I cleaned out the family home. The stool on which I sat for the only professional photo shoot I had as a child at age 26 months and the stool where I sat my own two children while I took pictures of them at the exact same age. The stool that I hope to pass down to my daughter so she might take the same pictures of her own children and her grandchildren. The stool that has come to mean much more to me than a mere piece of furniture; it represents the past, my present and the future.