Rocking Through the Ages

Posed with my brother in my rocking chair

Posed with my brother in my rocking chair

I mentioned my pint-sized rocking chair in a recent post. I received the rocker for Christmas when I was a toddler. During my preschool years, the chair sat in the living room of our home. In those years, my father and grandfather often posed me in it for pictures.

Posed with my cat in my rocking chair

Posed with my cat in my rocking chair

T in rocking chair

Posed by myself in my rocking chair

The photo below of me in the blue dress is one of my favorite pictures of me as a child. I look pensive, as I often was. But there is also a hint of stubbornness and mischief in my eyes, both of which I displayed on occasion. (I don’t see how the family myth of the Good Big Sister developed when I so often wore this impish expression on my face.)

I still tilt my head like I did in this picture. And I still play with a pencil or pen in hand when I’m thinking or listening, as I did in the photo. The child in me survives more than fifty years later.

After I got my own bedroom in the home we moved into when I was seven and a half, my rocking chair sat in my room. For the rest of my childhood years, I spent a lot of time thinking in that chair. It wasn’t like Dennis the Menace being sent to the corner in his rocker. No, my time in the chair was voluntary—for introspection and dreaming.

That’s where I worried about my parents finding out about minor misdeeds which loomed as mountains in my mind. That’s where I realized my good fortune in being American and Catholic. That’s where I imagined all sorts of heroic escapades in which I featured prominently as saint and martyr. (I didn’t have comic books about superheroes, but I had a book on the lives of saints, and I wanted to be one, however gruesome their deaths.)


My little rocking chair in the guest room now

By the time I was a teenager, I had outgrown the rocking chair both physically and mentally. I still could fit my butt in the seat (and I still can!), but my knees stuck up toward my chest and it wasn’t comfortable. Like most teens, I preferred to lounge on my bed, books and snacks spread around me.

I was married by the time my parents moved out of that home in which I spent most of my childhood years. When they moved, they sent me my little rocking chair along with other childhood mementos. I put it in my daughter’s room after she was born, but she never became attached to it the way I had been.

Now it sits in my guest room. A few tchotchke dolls are the only ones who sit in it anymore. But occasionally, as I pass by and see it, I remember my childhood.

What items bring your childhood to mind for you?

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  1. Sweet post. I enjoyed it. I don’t have many memento from childhood, a ceramic shoe my mother said someone brought to the hospital w/flowers when I was born, a ceramic lady that doubles as a vase that I can remember painting with my sister. But … oh, yeah. I have the farm. The trees hold memories and the land. And the little house is about to have a rehab into a year round place.

  2. I love the photo of you, legs crossed, contemplating life…so cute! Jigsaw puzzles make me think of my childhood. Maybe that’s why I always have one going on our dining room table. I really enjoyed this post, Theresa.

    • Jill,
      Jigsaw puzzles bring back memories for me, too, though we only got them out on holidays. So for me, they mean winter evenings with a fire in the background.
      Thanks. Theresa

  3. It must be wonderful to have a childhood memento that brings back the golden memories of years past. All my childhood things remain at my home in Mississippi and the only time I see the things is when I go home. However, just seeing those things, a doll, a letter, a chair… is enough to bring back a flood of memories. Thanks for taking us down memory lane.

  4. I had a pint-sized rocking chair as well — black shellack but otherwise much like yours — and it remains here in a room we don’t use. Every time I put stuff out for the donation trucks I think about how I have no use whatsoever for that chair, but I just can’t part with it.

    I also have a stuffed dog (Snuggly Snoozer) who comforted me through any number of childhood issues. He is scraggly and very well worn – like the Velveteen rabbit, he’s exceedingly real! He sits on a window seat where he’s not exactly an HGTV-worthy piece of decor, but that’s where he’ll stay as long as I do.

    Thanks for such a lovely post.

    • Ah, yes, the scraggly stuffed animals.
      I had a stuffed duck when I was a toddler that my parents made me give to Baby Jesus because it was so ratty. (But I have it back now. The story is in my Family Recipe book.)
      Thanks for writing, Linda, and Merry Christmas!

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