My Father’s Bookcase: A New Family Heirloom

MTH & bookcaseWhen I was a very young, my father made a bookcase. It’s made of a pretty wood (maybe oak?), and it is solid. It has a curved lip on the front facing at the top of the bookcase. I thought that made it a fancy piece of furniture when I was a child. My father must have had access to decent woodworking equipment to make that curve, but I have no idea where or how he made it.

The bookcase sat in the living room in one of the houses we lived in when I was in preschool. Here I am standing in my party clothes in front of the bookcase—I think this was my third birthday, or maybe Easter of that year.

Later, when I was six and a half and we moved to a house where I had my own bedroom for the first time, the bookcase was in my room. Over the next several years it came to hold all my treasured volumes, books by Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Irene Hunt.

And I hid my Halloween and Easter candy behind the books on the bottom shelf.

On many occasions when removing a book from the top shelf, I scraped the back of my hand on the point of that curve my father sawed. It didn’t seem quite as fancy then, but I still was proud to have my own bookcase and my own books to fill it (and hide the candy from my brother).

The bookcase moved from house to house with my parents.

20150111_072934At some point it came to reside in my sister’s home. As I’ve been traveling back and forth to the Seattle area this year, I’ve spent several nights in her house. And there, in her guest room, is my old friend—the bookcase my father made.

It is full of well-read paperbacks. It is still solid and it still sports a curved front panel, and the wood finish is still polished. (But I haven’t found any candy behind the books.)

Now it doesn’t seem fancy at all. Now it seems utilitarian and plain, the curve on the front piece a meager attempt to add decoration.

Nevertheless, I’m glad it is still in the family. It brings back memories of a little girl in party clothes in simpler times, of the bedroom where she later read and dreamed, and of a handy father now deceased.

What homemade treasures does your family own?

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  1. I loved reading this, Theresa. The bookcase your father made is indeed a treasure, and one I hope will remain in your family for years to come.
    You’ve shared pictures of yourself in the past, but I think this has to be my favorite. You look adorable and so proud of the bookcase.
    As far a my own homemade treasures; I have several afghans that were crocheted by my grandmother.

    • Jill, in this picture I wasn’t beaming because of the bookcase. I was showing off my pretty new jewelry — a necklace and bracelet that I loved.
      We have hand-crocheted afghans also. One I have has some wear, but I hate to get rid of it.

  2. Aww, great story. We have a bookcase that came from my husband’s grandparents’ house (not homemade), and I know it brings fond memories of sitting in his grandparents’ living room when he was younger.

    The treasured homemade keepsakes are some of my husband’s late mother’s ceramics–bunnies, frogs, and a Christmas tree. He remembers watching his mom make them when he was a kid, and they’re a happy part of our home today.

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