Let me start at the beginning.
It was 1922. There was some dirty business going down at the Canadian Wheat Board. Baby Olive was found abandoned in a suitcase at Union Station in Toronto. War was over and people were doing things. One thing they were doing was making chairs. I came from the Stratford Chair Company, a reputable place where many fine dining chairs were birthed from ancient hardwood trees. I was given a fine wide seat of leather. That leather seat would turn out to be the one constant in my life.
After a few years war broke out again. The people in my life were scared. Many sons had their last dinner at my table. My dark stain was depressing so I was painted a creamy white to brighten the lives around me. There was a lot of sorrow during this time but me and my leather seat held fast for the war effort and were rewarded by yet another coat of paint.
It was 1953. My old family gave me away to a young couple from church. The couple were nice but not too well off. Business was booming and soon they were too. I was painted tiffany blue which was the hot colour of those years. I looked quite grand, being a middle aged girl in the 50's was fun. So many dinner parties were had. My family liked Jello a lot it seemed, at least I ended up with many versions of it landing on my leather. I think that was one of the most fascinating things about those years; the number of dishes that could involve gelatin.
As I started to show my age, my tiffany blue was replaced with white once more. The Mod period had begun, simple lines and bright whites against bursts of colour. Experimentation in the dark and hazy lounges I'd heard about at dinner parties. Drugs, abandoned hearts, new exciting music. These things used to appeal to me but I kind of felt too old for it now. My leather was starting to get dull and brittle in spots. I fit the provincial decor of my family. It was enough for me.
My family stopped loving me. Sometimes that happens and there's nothing you can do about it. I picked myself up and sheltered my heart against the attentions of a new house full of babies. My white paint was worn and showed too many dirty fingerprints so I was painted one last time in very dark brown. I was given a special spot near the bay window for the cat to sit on and watch birds and I thought to myself, this is a nice way to spend my days. And I did spend them. I spent 40 years near that window. I had many cat friends. Cats don't live nearly long enough, it seems. Some refuse to die. I feel that I am like those cats.
My leather seat deteriorated. My paint was crazed and chipping and looked greasy under the layers. I was found and my leather was taken away from me. It was for the best because though my seat is new, you can see every single layer of my past on my arms and my legs and my face. Almost a century of time has passed and I hold that time inside of me. I feel as though my heart is no longer sheltered. I've been reborn. I am a new kind of chair, I'm not heavy with history. I'm bright and feel light and I could just go on forever. I've burst open into a new age. You can create a new story with me, as you please. I want to love again. Do you?
-grasscloth weave fabric on seat is new
-made by the Stratford Chair Company (maker's tag inside the seat bottom)
-the seat is a metal plate and is easily reupholstered