From My New, Old Desk Chair


This week I picked up a chair from my aunt’s house, which used to be my grandparents’ house. Confusing? Mema and Meatball lived in their home for many, many years – they moved in immediately after the birth of their third child (and by immediately, I mean my grandmother went to the hospital from one home, and then came home from the hospital with a new baby to a new home). They raised five daughters in that home, and welcomed their grandchildren and great-grandchildren and many friends to visit and laugh and make good memories there. Now that they have passed, one of my aunts and her family live there. It makes me very happy to know that those walls will hold many more years of great memories for our family.

As for me – I picked up the chair. It isn’t anything at all fancy. It is just an older, rolling desk chair that was tucked away among things to be sorted and donated. It came into my possession as an afterthought, when I mentioned to my mother that I needed a better chair than my current desk chair – a tiny, wooden, straight-backed version that has been doing a number on my back and neck. She mentioned that there was one that had been in my grandparents’ office that was destined for the donation center. I swung by to pick it up, grateful to save a few dollars and my aching back.

When the kids got home and saw the chair, their first response was glee at being able to spin one another around in circles on the casters. As they played the game, my oldest suddenly stopped and said, “Mama, this chair smells like something. It smells like someone’s house.”  When I told her that it came from Mema and Meatball’s house, her response was, “Oh yeah. Do you think they sprayed it to make it smell that way?”  I laughed, and then I smelled the chair. It does – it smells like their house.

Suddenly this chair isn’t just an afterthought. It’s a memory. It smells like their house, where my cousins and I swam in the pool and did somersaults on the carpet. Where there was always room at the dinner table, and plenty of butt-butt (butter, for those who don’t speak Meatball). Where the walls were covered with pictures of family and the rooms were full of love. Suddenly, my new desk chair is not just an older, rolling desk chair. My new desk chair is part of their home – and part of mine.

Do you have any items that unexpectedly hold a special memory for you? 

What do you think?

From My New, Old Desk Chair

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Profile photo of meredith meredith says:

    My mom has a tradition of giving a piece of my Nana’s china as a wedding gift to her daughters. She also includes a piece of her own china and one chosen by the bride. All 3 plates are hanging in my kitchen right now.

  2. Yes, and great memories. I miss the musky smell of the house that they lived in before my grandfather passed away. Its hard to think about it without tears. I have a few things that were his and I have a couple of them in our livingroom. 🙂

  3. Profile photo of Anna Jones Anna Jones says:

    My Dad’s mother gave me her old rocking chair from when she rocked my dad and aunts/uncles. I also have an oil painting in my living room that my great aunt painted and was at my grandfather’s house. Not to mention, the sweater of my uncle hanging in my closet (my son is named after him). Even though I don’t wear the sweater or sit in the rocking chair I won’t be getting rid of them.

  4. Profile photo of heps7 heps7 says:

    I used to have an alarm clock that my grandma use to use. I used it forever until it stopped working. I kept it for years even though it didn’t work because it was hers. I’m not really sure what happened to it. I think it somehow got lost when I moved in with my husband but I would have kept it for probably many years to come.


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