Funny how you look at things without seeing them. I was in the back yard when I asked Mother, “Aren’t those the same chairs we had in Advance?”

“Two of them were,” she confirmed.

Brother Mark in contemplation

I was pretty sure I have photos of those chairs in my grandparents’ yard when I was only a couple of years old. I couldn’t find them right away, but I did spot them in the Kingsway back yard in the summer of 1960.That means they’ve survived nearly three-quarters’ of a century of rain, snow, heat and cold with only the application of a little paint every decade or so.

We expect every season to be the last for the redbud tree in the right center of the photo, but it keeps coming back every spring.

Brother Mark, stretched out on a bench in contemplation, is trying to figure out what color he’s going to paint those chairs half a century later.

Maple is all grown up

That little maple tree sapling at the left side of the two photos is about 18 inches across now. I keep waiting for it to fall over and hit the house. That’s Brother David, Mother and my Grandmother Elsie Welch in the picture.

Funeral home chairs

I shifted my weight while typing this and was reminded that I’m sitting on what we call the “funeral home chairs.” It’s a set of wooden folding chairs that Mother said was used in a teen hangout in the basement of my grandfather’s liquor store in the Prather Building in Advance. There are five of them around the table I use as a work area in the basement when I’m in Cape. I have three or four in West Palm Beach.

If Mother is 90, that would make those chairs at least that old, because I can’t imagine my grandfather buying new chairs for a bunch of teenagers. I’d creak too, if I was that old.

In fact, now that I think of it, when I shifted my weight, I’m not sure if the sound was coming from the old chair or from me.

Travel update

Made it from Cape to Kentucky Lake to get Mother’s trailer set up for her to stay a few days. Tuesday night found me in Newport, TN. I got to see some beautiful mountain scenery going through the Smokies to the Winston-Salem area Wednesday to visit Don Gordon, a guy I worked with at The Missourian.

After a couple of hours of gabbing, I took off to see my old paper, The Gastonia Gazette. The first thing I discovered is that it’s been rebranded The Gaston Gazette. Then, I went to the corner where it should have been (and where the GPS said it was) and couldn’t find it. The shopping mall that used to be across the street was still there (but much larger), but no newspaper. The GPS gave me an alternative location. I pulled up to the building and thought it looked vaguely familiar, but the location felt wrong. It turns out there’s a Walgreens where my old paper was and this is a new joint. I’m not holding out much hope of finding much I can remember here.

12 Replies to “Chairs”

  1. I have a couple of the old metal chairs that I got from a now deceased uncle and a glider that looks similar to them from a trade I made 40 plus years ago. Who knows how old they are but evidently well designed. Perhaps my daughter will talk about them some day and wonder.

  2. An exciting time in Advance when we heard of a teen club every Saturday night in the basement of a liquor store.
    It was sometime in the forties and it was wonderful
    having a place to dance and drink cokes and feel so

    My mother had the identical lawn chairs on her front porch.

  3. We had some metal chairs similar to those when I lived in Cincinnati. I believe ours were scalloped though. Very chic. We also had a glider, about the size of a small couch. My twin brother and I used to fight over who got to push the glider.

  4. Most all of the old steel chairs were made by a company originally owned by Ed Wormack in Ft Smith, Arkansas. Tons of them were shipped out on the Frisco and Missouri Pacific railroads, most to Sears and Roebuck. In the mid 50’s Ed sold the company to Flanders Industries, who continued selling three basic designs (all Ed’s); the two round-backs seen in Ken’s picture and the shell-back that Wally refers to.

  5. My dear Aunt Bessie had a few of these chairs at Gravel Hill, MO. Every time I see one, I think of when I sat in one of hers and she told the story of how a distant relative had sat in one and a copperhead under it bit him on the leg … and he died from the bite. Don’t know if this happened or if she was trying to get a young whipper-snapper away from the adults. But it had the effect of making me look under a lawn chair ever since!

  6. WOW! I continue to AWED by your historical………posts. First, I am just now getting the point you had that close relationship with Advance. I had no idea (even with you Mother’s maiden name) that your grandfather owed that liquor store…….. No, I didn’t hang out in the basement……didn’t even know about it nor did my friends or they didn’t tell me. I remember the Schonhoff liquor store located where Paul Corbin’s brother had a store later. Mrs. Schonhoff gave piano lessons and I took from her for many years.

    Great reading……..keep posting…………

  7. The chairs…… parents had a couple of those…….as well as grand parents and many other relatives. These chairs were obviously the chairs of the decade or more… Then funeral chairs I remember as well………thanks for stirring my memory….
    Your stories give me much reading material…… need to visit the library…………..

  8. Sometimes the chairs were referred to as “Motel Chairs” because every motel seemed to have one out front. Their hey day was post WWII with all the sheet metal now available and all the young families needing furniture.

    They are now cropping up as Retro Vintage. Diane Keaton likes them on Pinterest.

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