Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Time to Redecorate and to Remember

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Time to Redecorate and to Remember

Article excerpt

MY WIFE SAYS that everything around the house is looking old.

I squirm.

"Look at that living room set," she says.

I like the living room set. The sofa is soft brown corduroy and the furniture is dark pine, carefully selected in countless old colonial furniture shops in random towns the Frymers inhabited early on. The polished pine evokes someplace rustic where I always intended to live. Never did, though.

Me and that pine living room set go back a long way. Almost as long as me and my wife.

Back then - when I bought the living room set - I used to shop very carefully. Before I bought a mattress, I would lie on two dozen, turning this way and that. This was a monumental decision. I asked questions about ticking, about coils. I read Consumer Reports. I didn't just buy a mattress.

Now my wife wants to get a whole new bed. Even get rid of that teak headboard, which is reversible, but which we have never reversed. It's got a kind of straw effect on one side that I have always liked. It's lovingly familiar to me now.

Does she know what that bed means to me? I have spent a large part of my life in that bed, and, as I recall, so has she.

She wants to get rid of all the teak furniture. I love teak. She and I honeymooned in Scandinavia and I was very impressionable then. I was particularly impressed by teak.

I walk around my old house and every room houses a memory. We bought matching oak bedroom sets for the boys in a store on Long Island. It would last forever, the salesman said, and he was right.

Oak is rugged, strong. "My boy Bill he'll be tall and as tough as a tree," I remember thinking. Funny how a thought like that comes back to you.

For my daughter, we bought maple, colonial style, like my own childhood set. She really loved it. One of the dressers has tiny, secret drawers where she kept secret little things, like pictures from a pajama party or a letter from a friend.

How do you get rid of all this stuff?

I've still got old drapes in the garage from an earlier house in Solon, Ohio, that I loved very much. The drapes are a particular shade of blue that went very well in that hillside house, and it took me weeks to find that shade of blue. …

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