The Crate Lives Again

I’m painting our crate this week. The crate is the oldest piece of furniture in our house and that includes our so-called antiques, which are just overpriced things with distressed wood that were in an antique shop when I bought them. (And I suspect the distressing part was that sleazy antique dealer with a screwdriver and a set of keys.)

For years the crate was what held our old albums. It was painted white-ish and in our basement. It was home to my husband’s old Pink Floyd, Jimmy Buffet and Todd Rundgren albums and my old Cat Stevens, Tony Bennett and Michael Franks albums. As well as several Herb Alpert albums that were my older sisters’ and a Donna Summer that neither of us will own up to.

Prior to that, the crate housed our stuffed animals. It held the B group - not the Beanie Babies and the nice ones, but the hastily, overstuffed and badly sewn animals from festivals, carnivals and the grocery store, when in a weak moment I caved to extreme whining and spent $7.99 for a frog in a tie-dyed wife-beater that was stuffed with Mexican sawdust until it was rock hard.

Before that the crate was in my mom’s basement soaking up dangerous molds and fungi every time her basement flooded, which was every time the sky got cloudy in Hubbard.

Before that, it was in my sister Kathy’s room, standing on end with books in the bottom and a lamp on top. And prior to that it was in Kathy’s mod apartment at Youngstown State, robin’s egg blue and full of albums. (A blog coming soon on Kathy’s groovy apartment - think multi-colored carpet squares on the walls. You can imagine the thrill that would provide to an 8-year-old little sis with an active fantasy life.)

I’m painting the crate forest green and I’m going to give it to my son to put his seven years worth of Sports Illustrated magazines in it.

It’s hard to believe that this crate survived The Purge, when we moved here and disposed of more than half of our possessions. (I’m estimating around 65 percent, but I’m still making trips to Goodwill and the garage still can’t hold cars, so that figure could get higher.)

Because the painting job was done in our garage with the door open, I couldn’t talk to myself or sing without the neighbors judging me unfairly, so I had lots of time to think about how this crate fits in with other things in our house. I like to personify inanimate objects, so I’d like to think that the crate is the old person in the nursing home who won’t die. The other furniture is just sick to death of it, but it hangs on.

“Oh, now you’re green?” the guest room furniture says. “You can dress up all you want, but we still know how old you really are.”

My son’s bedroom furniture says, “You’re not coming up here are you? At least I’m only built to look like an old crate, I’m not actually one.”

The Ethan Allen in the living room won’t give it the time of day, and the dining room table says,” I don’t know why she insists on fixing that thing up. It’s just not who we are now.”

Poor little crate. Sure we’ve outgrown him and, yes, he’s like the old, immigrant great-uncle who doesn’t get it. But who else can hold 300 Sports Illustrated magazines without toppling over from the testosterone?

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