Marilyn Gardner Woods
In the end, it felt good...
Updated: Oct 5, 2021
“I have moved those damn tables into every room in this house and they don’t belong anywhere. I need to get rid of them,” I said one morning recently, admonishing myself. I had just relocated the pieces from my past once again, this time to the TV room.
As I plopped down onto the nearest chair, a faded memory of the living room in the house on Wenonah Drive in Dallas I grew up in filled my head.
I saw my mom straighten the shade on the lamp with the cut glass base which sat on one of the pair of tables there. I could see her place a lovely bouquet of peonies on the other readying our living room for company. My mom every bit as beautiful as the flowers.
Two mahagony accent tables, oblong with small sculptural detail. Vintage for sure—they preceded mid-century design. They had been painted, stripped, spilled on, scratched, sanded, stained, and re-stained multiple times over for almost seven decades, first amid my mother’s traditional furnishings and then in my more eclectic décor. A unique feature—a hidden third leg which folded under the surface in back turned the table into a tea-party-sized square when the hinged top opened out, perfect for mom’s luncheons, small portions of finger sandwiches and consommé; laughable in scale compared to today’s super-sized servings.
I held onto the tables and until this house, they worked well and made mom’s presence in my home palpable.
Covid-crisis-thinking has caused me to re-evaluate many things, and both the lamp and the tables came up for consideration. I couldn’t part with the lamp, but the tables had to go.
Maria y Gorgonio, an energetic husband-and-wife team, who have created a home care business together, come regularly once or twice a month to help me with the heavy lifting of house care. Most often, they show up in wide striped athletic jerseys – red and white.
“Si, señora, Las Chivas.” they boast proudly in unison when I inquire. “Professional football in Mexico—no outsiders. Only cantera.,” she adds. A quick google translation—only home-grown players for Las Chivas. I love this loyalty to country.
Maria’s English is perfect; her texts messages heavy into multiple emojis. She particular likes hearts and praying hands. One day, she held her hand out with a picture on her phone. “Mis hijas.”
Surrounding Maria y Gorgonia, four little red and white striped clones, three boys and a small girl clinging to the duo and also proclaiming their loyalty to Las Chivas. Another google translation—the goats.
Gorgonio’s English is limited; he smiles broadly and nods his head in response to everything I say. She does the talking at my house—with great enthusiasm, especially about La Virgen de Guadalupe, the powerful symbol of Mexican identity and faith and one of the treasures of my art collection, and soccer. She plays three to four games on Sundays during the season. I marvel at her stamina, chasing that little white and black leather ball up and down the field for hours.
Maria y Gorgonia were due soon.
“If you’d like these two tables…” I offered as I left the house that day.
I returned just in time to see the beaming pair loading the tables into their SUV at the end of their long workday; temperature one-hundred degrees plus. I bent forward and rested both hands on the kitchen counter under the window as they drove away, a surge of regret in my heart, knots in my stomach. I am the lone survivor of a small family—my mother, my father and my only sibling, my brother Mark—and was letting go of a tangible part of our history.
For the rest of the afternoon and into the evening, I wrestled with my decision and rationalized. Maria would absolutely give them back if I asked. But why? None of the kids wanted them; the grandkids certainly didn’t, and I needed to unload some of this shit.
It was done and I tried to focus on Maria y Gorgonio with their new tables.
And then, as if to rubber stamp my difficult decision, a ten o’clock text from Maria just as I was heading to bed gave me one of my best night’s sleep ever:
thank you for table for baby Jesus ♥️🙏🌸🌝🌈💘👩❤️👨
Don't you love a happy ending?
Yes, a sweet tale! I have decided to have a piece of furniture shipped all the way from my mother’s home in Denmark. I will have you over once it gets here! 2021? Bess
You are amazing!
And you always bring me to tears!!
Love you. Jodi
Good deed, good indeed. Chris
Wonderful, wonderful. All of treasures should have a happy ending like this. McCall
This is one of your sweetest yet.
I remember your house on Wenonah well and your beautiful mother. We raised our two just around the corner as golf drive turned into Rankin. We have given away more than we have kept and love seeing our kids enjoy what we picked out and used.
As you said some sanded down and repainted. Thanks again for memories worth remembering. Delia
Yes! I also had a gate-leg table, passed on and on. So happy yours found such a loving home!Judie
The sweetest story EVER! Tears!SC
Your Table story will be good for some Indulgences with Baby Jesu. 🙏MP
I know exactly how you felt...I hung on to things for YEARS!!! But everytime I FINALLY parted with my "treasure" I felt so good and especially if it went to a good home...I too had inherited one of those fliptop tables...it was with me a long time. AR
This was lovely!! Nice to know someone appreciates your table!!
We had the same experience when we moved into our condo. The kids didn’t really want anything, and now that the one family that did take some things has completely renovated their home, everything has gone. We don’t know where those things went, but at least they helped our sense of nostalgia when we first cleared things out. Jill
Great story ...made me feel good and remember!!
Nice Marilyn. On Craigslist last weekend, I listed for sale two maple night stands that my mother and father purchased in the early 1950's. I hated to part with them since they have been in the family longer than me. Fortunately, I checked with my brothers one last time to see if either of them wanted them. One brother said yes. It was time for the tables to go. So glad they will remain in the family. Funny how attached we get to things. But I guess it's the memories we are really attached to.
The table story is my all time favorite so far!!! It resonates in so many ways. One of the reasons I knew that my Yachats buyers were “right” was their reaction to owning the dining room table and chairs that my parents bought for their first home.
Marilyn that was wonderful!!! So true about our treasures becoming relics and we still hate to give up!! Of course I loathe ending!!❤️❤️JS