My photo
mommy. wife. teacher. yogini. writer. coffee drinker. aunt. crocheter. reader. dog lover. scattered. methodical. rational. irrational. paranoid. annoyed. lost. found. content. searching. peaceful. i am constantly in search of my story. the one i have never happened. the one i've lived i cannot write.

19 August 2010

trunk love.

i come
from a line
of refinishers.

let me explain.

my pappy owns a home improvement store
in southern illinois.
my fondest memories of my pappy
include him in paint-stained dockers
and white undershirts
wiping the sweat from his brow 
with a white hankie.
the man always has a new shade
tucked underneath his fingernails
and has the gift of turning trash
into beautiful treasure.

my nanny had an eye for trash.
the woman planted the passion of the hunt in me
and nurtured my eye
for the beauty that can lie
in someone else's discarded

the two of them together
produced amazing pieces
that litter our home
my parents' home
my sister's home;
pieces that would have otherwise
been buried under piles of garbage
and dirt
and time
never to be seen again.

one of those pieces
that rests in my (now) office
is an old
camel back 
steamer trunk.

i can't recall exactly
when this trunk came into my possession
but it has remained one of my most favorite things
and something
(despite its pink exterior)
that has always found a place
in our home.

my mother
has two of her own trunks
one that sits at the foot of their brass bed
and another that serves as a coffee table in the basement.

my sister
now has in her possession
a trunk that my nanny discovered at a garage sale
years ago
and that my pappy refinished for her
shortly after nanny left us.

needless to say
we have a thing for trunks.

when bill discovered this old piece
at a roadside sale last summer 
for eight dollars
i was giddy at the idea
of making this tradition
my own.

it was a disaster
waiting to be rescued.

my pappy
of course
made the whole ordeal sound easy.
get some stripper.
strip the paint.
wipe it down with paint thinner.

after the first coat of stripper
i made a phone call.

'well hey, amy lou!'
'pappy, the painted the wood.  the WOOD, pappy.'
'its in the grain, huh?'
'who does that!?'
'you need a brush...get a car detail brush with the tough bristles.  then, you just gotta get on there.  scrub it good.'

two coats of stripper later 
and three detailing brushes destroyed...

as the trunk began to reveal itself
to me
i begin to think of my nanny
and the trunk she had left me
and the love that had been put into it.
and i wanted so much
for this
to make her proud of me.
to smile on me from some moonbeam
and say,
'you done good, sweetheart.'

i began to breathe life into the wood
and brought color to the old


and as i brought this piece to life
i thought much
about the life we had lost
when we lost her
and at some point
i thinned the paint with my tears
and mixed them with the stain
and brushed them deep into the grain of the wood
replacing the blue paint
that had once occupied the grooves.


the experience 
transformed more than just metal
and wood
it transformed me
it brought me new life
it helped me remember that from which i come
and it made me hope that someday
my best good girl
will too
find the glimmer
in the garbage 
of life.

go well.


Anonymous said...

Thank you...for the tears that bring healing and for the love that continues.

Katie Jo said...

Yep! It brought tears to my eyes too! Thank you for inheriting the creative gene and the ability to look at a piece of "trash" and make it into something beautiful! I love you for this!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...