Nana’s Desk

I grew up in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. Unlike most of the kids in the neighborhood, neither of my parents were military officers, nor did they work in the federal government. Other families rotated in and out, and occasionally back in. We stayed in place.

I was in college when they decided to move to the beach. The house I grew up was not a mansion, Mc or otherwise, but it had substantially more space than the duplex unit they would move to.

My dad and his best friend Charlie had bought the duplex at the beach together some years prior. The units were rented out most of the time, which helped to pay the mortgage, and both families also used it for our own vacations.

The units had been furnished when Dad and Charlie had purchased the property. My parents decided that there wasn’t much they would take from the suburban house to the beach. The furniture, most of which they’d purchased in the 1960’s, wouldn’t fit in the new house, and some of it wasn’t worth moving anyway. The couch at the beach house was actually nicer than the couch in our family room.

My brother Greg took the twin bedroom set in what had once been Mark and Jamie’s room, and the long kitchen table and chairs. That table could seat all seven of us, but once my siblings started bringing people home, we had to either eat in shifts or in the dining room.

Maria, my sister, took my parents’ bedroom furniture, which had been a wedding present to my parents from my Mom’s parents. She also took the intricately carved liquor cabinet with the fold out bar that my mother’s cousin had purchased while she lived in Japan. She’d already taken the twin beds and dresser from the room we once shared.

The IKEA furniture I’d picked out to replace it was given away, except for a large square mirror, which I managed to keep. It is hanging by the door in the apartment I share with my husband today.

My parents had declined to buy me an IKEA bed, which was probably smart. The basic bed frame, and the mattress and box spring found a new home in Mark’s guest room. I feel like he must have taken something else, but maybe not. His wife has very specific taste.

My brother Jamie took the dining room set that my parents had traveled to High Point to buy. He took pink a mid century modern chair that his wife liked. It was out of fashion then, but would be totally on-trend today. He also took the living room sofa, end tables, and coffee table, and the bed from what had been Greg’s room.

You may be concerned about me, that I have this inventory in my head some twenty-odd years later. I actually don’t begrudge my siblings the things. I was living with my parents in the months before the move, and it was disconcerting to come home and find the living room emptied or a card table and lawn chairs where the kitchen table had been, and eventually a sleeping bag where my bed had been.

The one thing my mother wanted to take to the beach was her mother’s fold out desk. We called my grandmother Nana, and my whole childhood that desk stood in the entryway closed up and with no chair.

We invariably referred to it as Nana’s desk. Whenever one of us said “Mom, can I have a stamp?” or “Where’s the Scotch tape?,” she’d say, “Look in Nana’s desk.”

Five years ago, my mother was deciding who would get her most treasured possessions. One of the items was Nana’s desk. She was trying to decide who should get it. I played the card I had never played before, I had never played before, and that I have never played since.

Today, I brought the desk home.

2 thoughts on “Nana’s Desk

  1. I’m so glad you go the piece of furniture that you really wanted! This piece reads like a trip down memory lane. I felt like I was going through your childhood home right their with you as you described what each of your siblings took.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s