Today, I’m honoring my late husband’s hobby of making things. He made almost every end table, bookcase, and wall hanging I ever had. He did not claim to be a perfectionist; he was proud to call his creations “Marv’s Functional Furniture,” with an emphasis on “functional,” not “perfection.”
He was especially proud of the wall hanging on the photo below. He called those wheels on the wooden planks “coulters.” He said they came from the grove on his childhood farm. They have something to do with cultivators; that’s all I know…I’m not ever sure about their spelling.
In our city homes, those coulters were a hit. No one knew what they were. Our home always looked like a former farm kid lived there (and never an interior decorator). On this photo, he also made the matching end tables and the lamps. For the lamps, he drilled up the dowel to string the electric. He decorated the bases with large rocks he had collected on trips.
The rotating end table has a fun story. I’d told him I wanted a table that turned so I could, from my position on the couch, just turn it a little to reach my next stack of books. One day he saw a round, chest-height, display table in Staple’s garbage (Staples shared a loading dock with our downtown condo). He proudly rolled it home down the street, took it somewhere near his office to saw down the metal pole legs, and built a new creative top. Bingo–a rotating end table.
The driftwood piece he dragged from Lake Michigan on our honeymoon. Water logged, it took months to dry out. But then, over the years, it served as a shelf in several bookshelves, a headboard, and finally as a foyer table. Marv loved quizzing guests about its origin.
Yesterday, I did almost a sacrilegious thing. In a fit of angst dealing with my water problems, I decided it was time to move furniture. And, just like that, the matching end tables and lamps made it into the garage.
After nearly sixty years of living with homemade furniture, I went online and ordered a new end table and lamp. Marv always said that was the beauty of him making our furniture: “If Lois gets sick of it, she can get rid of it. I have little money invested in it.” I didn’t forget this, of course, so yesterday, I made good on his offer.
The rest of the homemade creations appear to be safe for now. But my daughter, who stopped in as I was moving things around, has first dibs on the rotating table, should I get it in my head to move it on. As she watched my frenetic activity, I think she wanted to ensure it didn’t land in the garbage without her knowing about it.
I must say I always had fun with Marv’s Functional Furniture. Imagine inviting friends over to your city high rise where they would be greeted in our foyer by a huge display of John Deere paraphernalia. Many guests were simply speechless.