Grandma’s Desk was a pre-write exercise we did in my English 101 class and I was pretty pleased with how it came out.
As far back as I can remember grandma’s desk and those shadow boxes were a part of our lives. My youngest memory of the shadow boxes is a vague memory. Grandma was sick so instead of setting at the dining room table where she normally would set she was on the couch, and those shadow boxes hanging on the wall were above her head. My undeveloped mind knew there was something wrong that day. I just did not know what it was. Why was grandma setting on the couch ready to leave? Why was there so many people? Why did Grandma have nothing to say to me? I could hear people making comments like. She is not going to make it through the night, and we will pray for your family. The next morning we got up. Grandma had suffered a stroke, she was gone. I still did not know exactly what that meant. The days went on and people came, and people went, and when it all calmed down my Grandpa said he had nothing left to stay here for.
It was mom, dad, and grandpa left to clean up the remnants of grandma’s life as my grandfather decided to pack it all up, and move to Wisconsin. I remember him giving that desk, and shadow boxes to my mother as he said you deserve this Harriet this is all I have to give you of your loving mother. The shadow boxes were black plastic boxes with a light in the top. With a olive green offset square frame that gave them the perfect amount of depth for the angels that sat inside of them. Each ceramic angel had a beautiful green flowing dress drifting off into the opposite direction of each other. The left hand of one and the right hand of the other was raised so as they face each other they appear to be pointing in the same direction. The eyes of the angels were closed as though they were praying. The desk was solid wood stained walnut with just enough of a warp in the top to separate the seam where the pieces went together.
My mom owned those shadow boxes, and that desk in pride. For years it was where my oldest brother did his homework, and where my dad studied and got his ged. It was where mom studied when she returned to college to get her nursing degree. It was where dad paid all of our bills, and those shadow boxes hung on the wall above it the entire time.
One day mom, and dad had went to Canandaigua to a doctor’s appointment only to return and find the second story of the house they lived in engulf in flames, and the kids still setting in the living room. Dad ran in “get out, get out, the house is on fire, get out.” My oldest brother William jumped up off the couch and headed for the door. However, the desk stopped him he threw everything off the desk and grabbed it and pulled it out the sliding glass door of the living room to the front yard. However as he tried to return to get the shadow boxes my father stopped him telling him it is not safe let them go.
The shadow boxes did not make it to the next generation, however; the desk did. It has been bounced around the children in the family at some point being a part of everyone’s household except for mine. I remember the anger I felt when I showed up to my bother Donald’s house one day and saw it setting in his living room displaying a couple of birds that where pooping and throwing water all over the top of it, and I remember how nice it was to know my sister had gotten it and would take care of it. Recently I received a email from my sister with a picture attached showing me how she had refinished it. I remember the mixed emotions, for it was a antique. I guess to my sister it was more of a sentimental value and she wanted to preserve it for years more.