heirloom rocking chair
4.28.14 ~ Aunt Flora’s rocking chair, newly re-upholstered

To stir up a bit of family history excitement there is nothing quite like the anticipated arrival of a new twig soon to be grafted onto the family tree. Our new grandchild will be a girl! Larisa has felt her moving and so we are all very excited!

Uncle Ed & Aunt Flora

Aunt Flora was the youngest sister of my 2nd-great-grandmother, Elisabeth Emma (Freeman) Thompson, who died in 1876 at the tender age of 25, of a “stoppage,” when her baby son (my great-grandfather) was only 18 months old.

Susan Flora (Freeman) Swift was born in 1864 and died in 1963 at the age of 99, when I was 7 years old. My grandparents were caring for Uncle Ed, who lived to be 102, and Aunt Flora, at their home in Woods Hole on Cape Cod. I remember these delightful ancient ones very well. They never had children and so doted on my grandmother (the granddaughter of her sister) and her family.

Uncle Ed, holding Barbara (me!),
sitting in Aunt Flora’s rocking chair

When I became a mother for the first time my grandmother gave me Aunt Flora’s favorite rocking chair. She had it re-upholstered for me and I spent many happy hours feeding and rocking my babies in it. It’s history meant so much to me. The upholstery eventually wore thin – it was well-used – and my babies grew into adults. I finally stuffed it away in storage.

But it has been brought out of storage and now I am having a taste of the joy my grandmother must have felt when she had it re-upholstered especially for me! It will go to my daughter soon and I’m looking forward to seeing her and her own daughter take their places in the family story. 🙂

22 thoughts on “heirloom rocking chair”

  1. Oh Barbara, this is such a wonderful story, it brings tears to my eyes….I’m so happy for you and I know that Larisa and your baby granddaughter will treasure Aunt Floras rocking chair, just as you have. <3

    1. Thank you, Joanne. We have delivered the rocking chair and I can tell it is already treasured! It’s amazing seeing Larisa pregnant and glowing in person, but oh how I wish we lived a little closer.

      1. Barbara, this is a wonderful “handing down” story. And congratulations on your daughter’s pregnancy!! That rocker has a lot of love and history. Funny that you delivered a rocker, as I did last Thanksgiving all the way to South Carolina to my daughter who was about 8 months pregnant. There was only the one generation history on my bentwood rocker but Jess definitely wanted it. I so wish my daughter lived closer, too. Maybe we can car-pool to the Carolinas together.

        1. Thank you, Susan! I wonder if your trip to South Carolina was as grueling as ours was to North Carolina? When we go again to welcome our new baby granddaughter we decided we are going by train – driving is way too frustrating and stressful – but I’m glad we did it that once for such an important errand. I can imagine how much your daughter treasures the rocking chair you brought down to her, and how many blissful hours she has already spent rocking her baby in it. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Melissa. I do feel grateful that my ancestors have blessed me with stories to pass on to future generations.

    1. Thank you so much, Laurie. Needless to say we are so excited we have no idea how we will possibly manage to wait to hold our new granddaughter in our arms.

    1. I suspect he was thrilled to meet the first member of a new generation. By the time I was 2 years old he was confined to his bed, and his beard was much longer. That’s how I remember him. My grandmother told me she would plop me down on his bed and we would stare at each other. One day he said, “And how old are you, Barbara?” Grandmother said I tentatively held up two fingers and said “two” so softly that he couldn’t hear me. 🙂

    1. I hesitated to pick the dragonfly fabric because they are my thing, but Larisa chose it from all the pictures of purple fabrics Tim sent her by smartphone. Purple is Larisa’s thing. 🙂 The chair is getting energy from many sources, old and new.

    1. Thank you so much, Lauren! Soon I will see my daughter rocking her daughter in the chair, and I’m sure I’ll get a turn to rock my granddaughter in it, too…

  2. The rocking chair is beautiful and comfortable, I can’t wait to use it to nurse. Thanks for posting this story, Mom. You know how confused I always get telling family stories; it’s nice to have detailed here so I can get it right now and again. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Larisa. This is why the written word is such a treasure, a great memory aid. It’s a shame people don’t write letters so much any more. But I like to think some day my descendants will be interested in getting to know me through the words left on my blog, the same way I learn about my ancestors in the letters they wrote to each other. 🙂

  3. Lovely sharing of some of your family history, Barbara! And what a beautiful rocking chair just waiting for all the love that will surround and comfort that sweet granddaughter when she arrives. XO ♥

    1. Thank you, Diane – it was such a happy time bringing the rocking chair up from the basement, dusting it off, bringing it to the upholsterer and picking out the fabric, and then bringing it all the way to North Carolina! I bet it had never left New England until then. 🙂

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