My Grandparents, Orville and Ruth were married in 1917. They raised 8 children together, the fourth one being my mother, Marjorie. I don’t know when the oak pedestal table joined the family but I bet it could tell some awesome stories.
The table leaned against the wall of our garage for several years Mom had it refinished and from then on it was used at every family Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Like my mother and her siblings, I did homework on the table.It held my high school graduation cake. My wedding bouquet rested there briefly on a hot August afternoon, and baby carriers with grandchildren were placed on the table while we took off our coats for a visit.
The history of the table started long before I was around. Orville and Ruth’s eight children were Dean, born in 1917, Mildred in 1919, Leota in 1921, Marjorie, my mother, in 1923, Burdeen in 1926, Glen in 1931, Paul, in 1935, and Norman, in 1936. There were two upstairs bedrooms in the old farm house; one for the boys and one for the girls. Four in a bed meant some adjustments. Mom would tell of sleeping on the floor sometimes when sisters disagreed or the older sisters pushed the younger ones out. It was probably even worse in the room across the hallway although the oldest son may have been already gone by the time the younger brothers slept upstairs. Everyone was forced to get along just to survive. It defined my mother’s personality. She was always extremely conscious of intruding on others; always careful not to bother anyone. Lessons learned in survival mode.
Everyone had work to do on the farm. There were cows to milk, chickens to feed, eggs to gather, and hogs to feed, sell, and butcher. An old draft horse, Queenie, was still around when I was a small child, reminiscent of the days when farming did not include tractors and high technology. Grandpa Thomas was a hunter and a trapper as were many farmers in that era. It meant extra money and extra food. The sons all followed this tradition as well. Everyone worked hard, and all eight children also earned a high school diploma.
The old oak table was used hard and long. There are three leaves to extend the table which meant it probably took up most of the kitchen. It fed all those hungry children and provided a place for them to work on homework or maybe play a game of checkers. I am amazed when I look at it today to see what good shape it is in. After my parents were no longer able to live on their own, it traveled to my home. Following tradition, it has been used at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the next generations, has been used as a craft table for my good friends and grandchildren, and is a reminder of loved ones, family get togethers, and days gone by.