Getting rid of stuff: My bed

There's stuff. And then there's stuff.

Like the pair of cropped khakis I'll never fit into again as long as I'll live. Or the 10-year-old bottle of perfume that's gone off. Or the two cell phones in my desk drawer the size of bricks.

Even some of the yarn. Auf weidersein.

Some things aren't so easy, such as the objects pictured above.

This was my childhood bed set, given to me by my grandparents when I was six. The set, which includes a smaller-than-twin bed, doll cradle, foot stool and miniature vanity, came from the estate auction of a woman who slept in it until she died at the age of 90. It was made and painted by her father.

I adored it but for the occasional pang over a traditional--and new--canopy bed, fluffy and white as a bride, like my best friend had. Mostly, though, I marvelled at it. Not being the doll type, the cradle got short shrift, but I spent hours in front of the vanity, wondering what the emergence of my adult face would bring. Inside its tiny drawers I hid treasures like my third-grade diary, a tangle of costume jewelry, pots of eye shadow, toys and notes from my boyfriend. Always, from the time I was 13 on, a bottle of Chanel No. 5 cologne graced the top.

After graduating from college with an English degree and no idea how to put it to good use, I moved back home and spent a desultory few months submitting resumes, seeing friends and sleeping in this bed with an 80-pound boxer dog named Becky.

In ensuing years, the bed set lived in my parents basement, with my mother periodically chiding me to take it or do something with it. Had there been girl children in our generation, the bed would have been hers. But as it was, my brother threw boys and I eschewed parenthood, feeling not fit nor inspiried for the task.

Clearly there is a lot more tangled up in these antiques than the mere disolution of material goods.

When we cleaned out my parents' basement two years ago, the bed went to an antique gallery in Colorado Springs for sale. Periodically I would get calls, "Would you take this for it or that?" Once we even thought it had sold, but the buyer's check bounced.

The antique dealer, who was handling my mother's goods, passed away last year. All of her consignees had to either remove their goods or send them to auction. Unwilling to submit the set to auction, we collected it enroute to Westcliffe, pondering what to do.

Thanks to a brainstorm by Mr. Nake-id, we are donating the bed, dresser, cradle and stool to the historic Beckwith Ranch. I couldn't be more delighted. Ensconced at the Victorian-era Beckwith Ranch in Westliffe, Colorado, the set will be seen and enjoyed by visitors, an example of American artistry and history and a standing testament to the love in my family.

Making this decision, my heart felt glad to bursting, knowing my grandparents would love the bed's new home.

Comments (2) -

April 9. 2012 09:09

Karen Susman

How lovely - the bedroom set and the writing.

Karen Susman |

April 10. 2012 10:30

Nadine P

Leslie, your treasure will be enjoyed by many.  I'll think of you and serendipity when we visit the ranch. We love Westcliffe!

Nadine P |

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