I’ve had an exceptionally interesting life over the boring existence of most other tables. If it were possible for me to talk, I could tell some attention-getting stories. But let it be known in history that my life as a table was formed from a huge white oak tree in northern Wisconsin.
In about 1930, I found myself being placed in front of a big, round sawblade. I was carefully measured and sawed into long 8-by-8-inch blocks of wood. From the sawmill I went to a furniture factory where they practiced old-world carpentry. My heavy blocks of wood were carved into a knurly design for my five legs. The same intricate design was formed into four strong side pieces. Two thick, broad slabs were placed on top with the middle section sliding open to accommodate two large leaves, which extended my table top to 6 feet long. All parts of me were then sanded and varnished.
My first owner, his wife and two children, came into the furniture store. They gazed admiringly at me and the man counted out some money. Three strong men carefully loaded me onto my owner’s wagon and I was taken out to the country and unloaded into a new farmhouse kitchen.
I appreciated the lovely table covering with an arrangement of fresh flowers. I was bursting with pride as several more family members also came to join in the the thank you prayer before all sat down around me to eat.
Over the next few years, several more youngsters were born into this family and each took their assigned spot on the benches around me. Eventually, piles of dirty dishes, sloppy eaters and spills took their toll on me as my shiny surface dulled. Gradually the children all left home, the wife died and someone decided to move me out to the cold, dark, dilapidated garage. Oh, what a terrible sentence! Over several years I was piled high with greasy old car parts and junk. The middle of my flat top strained and sagged under the heavy weight. My pores filled with caked-on grime.
One spring day, my old and feeble owner came and stood in the opening where a door once was. He bent over and looked under me and mumbled something to himself. The next day he brought a young fellow over to look at me. A monetary bill was handed over and little by little they relieved me of my heavy burden. Again I was loaded onto the back of a truck and hauled 20 miles away to a beautiful ranch-style house.
My new owner’s young wife looked me over and after several days she had me scrubbed, re-varnished and looking beautiful and strong again. Seven children were born to this hardworking farm couple. On special occasions I was pulled apart and the two leaves were added to make my full size. At Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, a beautiful white lace tablecloth was placed on me. I was laden with tons of food, but it was an easy burden.
Over the years, I held many birthday cakes, and dozens of children blew out candles. I was often used as a diaper changing table and several times as an examining table for removing slivers and repairing other injuries of both children and small animals.
One incident was of a young black squirrel found with a broken leg. It didn’t resist being gathered up and brought inside. A small cage was placed on one corner of me and made into a comfortable home for Blackie. He looked forward to treats and I looked forward to the excitement of being useful. Blackie soon healed and was turned back into the wild.
Another time, one of the youngsters fell on a sharp tree stub, stabbing into his thigh. His brother pulled him up, carried him to the house and set him down on me. It was an emergency trip to the doctor for stitches. When it was time for the stitches to be removed, he was again laid on top of me with pillows under and around him. Again I served as an examining table as the mother carefully removed the stitches and treated the healing wound.
Then there was a 2-year-old who was always hungry and knew when it was mealtime. No matter that it was Saturday morning and the family could sleep in, he was up on his spot on the bench banging his Tonka truck on my top side until Mom got up and fixed breakfast.
But again a decision was made to move. This time the family chose an out-of-state location and I was strapped down with my legs pointed skyward. How very embarrassing! The ride was cold, long, bumpy and depressing. I was left parked for two days when, for whatever reason, my owner and his two oldest sons came for me and headed back to Wisconsin. As we finally pulled into our destination, a wonderfully pleasant feeling came over me. It was the house I’d been born into! My very first home!
I’ve been back in my lovely, remodeled kitchen for about 50 years now. I’m owned by my deceased owner’s oldest son and his wife. Although their children are grown and gone, they come back often for reunions and family get-togethers. Many a prayer has been said at my table and I too am thankful for the usefulness I’ve served and the respect and affection I’ve received. For a 90-year-old table, my life has come full circle and I look forward to being handed down to a younger generation in this same house where I started from.