As a child, I have fond memories of the time I spent with my Grandpa Ray playing in his parts and machinery shop. I spent hours ringing up "pretend" sales on the cash register, searching through boxes of nuts and bolts, and exploring the attic. The attic was accessible only by ladder, all the big stuff it contained had been brought up with an old rope pulley. Hidden in dark corners were a strange collection of antiques...an incubator for chicks, an old embalming table (creepy, right?), and an old dresser filled with an assortment of papers, letters, and photos. I was thrilled to find old love letters Grandpa had written to Grandma tied up with silk ribbon in one drawer.
After Grandpa and Grandma were gone, my parents gave me that dresser from the attic. I was thrilled to take possession of that fond memory, even if it was in rough shape.
It had decades of dust and debris on it but had never been painted, so restoring it just involved cleaning it up, tightening and regluing the joints, and a coat of tung oil. Only one original knob was in place when I got it. I searched antique stores high and low to find the old ebony ones that matched.
I did leave the drawers in the shape I found them...complete with baling wire on the back...that was Grandpa's way to fix anything!
After I had refinished the dresser and proudly brought it into the house, Karli, (being about 9 or 10 years old) asked me what I thought it was worth. I went into a long "schpeel" about its age, missing glove boxes, etc. and told her that considering all, it was probably worth about $300. I then asked her if she liked it. She informed me that she was just curious so she would know what to sell it for someday!
I think Karli has decided that she does like "old things" afterall. She has grown to have an appreciation for character pieces and especially one with family history. The East Lake dresser now resides in our entry way, but someday it will be Karli's.
The old photo sitting atop the dresser is one of Grandpa Ray as a child.