Tuesday, February 7, 2012
3 Days in January Part 3 "The Claire"
Whilst in the middle of letting the tub dry and sitting down (for not even a minute) after putting up insulation, I wondered to myself if I have enough energy to get this wall done before baby comes home. It was nice to just sit for a second, sweaty, having not showered for two days, hands and body hurting. I thought, "this would be a perfect time for Andrea to call me." Sure enough, the phone rang. But it wasn't Andrea on the other line, it was one of our DIY friends Claire. She was calling me to tell me that her neighbor had just put out on the curb a beautiful antique writing desk hutch and that I should come by and grab it. Claire is one of the few people who has seen our new parlor and she has a very good sense of what we are trying to do. I really, really was in no mood to hop in the car and drive the few blocks to pick up and haul furniture, no matter how nice. Well she convinced me enough to at least take a look at it, which I did, and it was really better than she described it.
Tyrone, the elderly man throwing it out remembers seeing his mother sit down to write letters at this desk. It had been in the family for a long time and now his children live far away and didn't care to have it. It was hard for him to put a "Free" sign on it but that's what he did. Claire saw, called and here I was looking at this piece that had very little damage to it. She noticed a letter stuck behind one of the drawers, showed it to Tyrone, whose expression changed. It was a letter from his brother who died "quite a while ago". He quietly went back inside and I never saw him after that.
We stood around to talk some more, which I encouraged, because I was getting tired just thinking about moving this thing and somehow magically wished it would just fly over into our parlor. Claire devised that it could fit in her car, if we were careful, and drop it off at the house.
Yes I spent money on this. I paid a young guy, on his way to Occupy Oakland camp, $10 to help me carry it up the stairs and into the parlor. I consulted my sister to get a few tips on it and cleaned it gently and found a couple of stamps hidden in the back.
So what is it?
Finial on top, Double glass door hutch w/ 2 shelves, Drop front desk w/ cubby holes and drawers,
4 Serpentine drawers, and Ball and Claw feet.
It is from the 20s-40s. The style is timeless and is a mix as most things are. sheraton, chippendale, federal, adams, all styles were borrowed.
Named after John Winthrop (12 January 1587/8 – 26 March 1649) who was a wealthy English Puritan lawyer, and one of the leading figures in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the first major settlement in New England after Plymouth Colony. Winthrop led the first large wave of migrants from
England in 1630, and served as governor for 12 of the colony's first 20 years of existence. His writings and vision of the colony as a Puritan "city upon a hill" dominated New England colonial development, influencing the government and religion of neighboring colonies.
As it so happens we are going to Boston in less than a month and staying in a hotel across the street from John Winthrop's grave!!!! Cue Twilight Zone theme song. lol
However, Gov. Winthrop has been recalled from office and we have renamed the piece "the Claire Writing Desk" in honor of a friend who thought of us when she saw it.