Friday, April 02, 2010

foto friday: dodie's chair

My great-great aunt Dorothy is a legend. We all called her "Dodie" since my grandmother (when she was a child...that's how far back Dodie goes) couldn't pronounce Dorothy. Dodie lived through two world wars, scarlet fever, and 20+ years as a retired, single woman living in a high rise at Yonge & Bloor. She passed away when I was 18 but she's still one of my heroes.

When she, in her 80s, was diagnosed with cancer she invited family members to her apartment to pick out what they'd like to take. The thought horrified me, mostly because it was my first old-person-almost-about-to-die situation since my grandmother died when I was 8, and partly because I just wanted Dodie to stick around. Forever. I didn't want her stuff, I wanted her.

When I was younger (5? 6 years old?), as we walked through Queen's Park to feed the pigeons, I asked her, "Dodie, when I have kids you're going to be their great-great-GREAT aunt, right?" Dodie squeezed my hand and answered, "We'll just see, won't we?"

Now here we were, her closest family members, in her apartment on Isabella street, half-visiting and half-scoping the place. I remember sitting near her oversized armchair, on the floor, with my back against the arm while she played with my hair. She asked me what I wanted to take. I said nothing. "Pick something out, for me. It would be nice for me to know what you took."

In the end, I asked her travel journals and photo albums, and a poem about the city of Toronto she had written and my uncle Jeff had framed. I remember feeling pleased that it pleased Dodie to have me ask for those particular things. To me, Dodie was a world-traveler but was also a Torontonian at heart. Just like me.

Along with those prized possessions, I inherited a few pieces of furniture after she died. They've resided with me in four apartments and, now, in our first house. One of them was her oversized armchair which we've opted to reupholster and put in our (current) guest room/(future) baby room.

And when our baby is old enough, I'll tell stories about great-great-GREAT aunt Dodie. We'll sit in the oversized armchair and look at travel photo albums.

Anyone know of a reputable reupholsterer?

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