My sixties-inspired raised ranch has limited closet space; the designer had more minimalistic homeowners in mind during the building phase. It’s not so much that I don’t have enough closets, it’s just that the closets that I do have are too small.
The coat closet— and there is only one near the entry door—would better serve just two humans who live closer to the equator. We make do through the use of storage bins that we juggle seasonally.
There is one closet that defies the home’s design concept of less is less. In that closet, there is a bit of extra space just off to the left. I would refer to the area as a cubbyhole.
Is that still an acceptable moniker? No cubbies have ever been in the closet, and I would never support a person who thought stuffing cubbies was a good idea. Cubbies deserve better than to be jammed into a hole.
In that space sat a tiny wooden rocking chair. The child-sized sitting utensil was placed right on top of some old hunting coats and canvas pants that no longer fit the original purchaser. The cumbersome way that it teetered there—idle and poorly stored— had been frustrating to me each time I tried to dig through the closet to find something that was probably never placed there in the first place.
Hey, I misplace things. True Story.
In that closet are a couple of old computer boxes that I shouldn’t keep, a printer that no longer works, and a few odds and ends that I surmise were stored there by my significant other. I know better than to toss them out.
I can see a baseball glove way in the back—it belonged to my son— and there is also a plastic bag full of clothing that I should have delivered to the local recycling center a couple of sizes ago.
The area between the rungs of the chair is far too small to feng shui boxes into the voids and spaces. The arms and straight wooden back would never cozy up— fittingly— to the odd shape of the closet. The tiny chair has struck me in the head more times than I can count.
Sure, I forcefully wedged it back into the space, and as soon as I felt confident that it was finally secure, it always seemed to fall back toward me. There has been much time wasted trying to prop things against the chair to keep it in place.
Whenever I mentioned my displeasure with the tiny rocking chair to my significant other—using a grouchy voice with a distinct inflection of frustration (added in the aftermarket)—she would advise me to leave it. Her grandfather gave her the chair, and while she hasn’t used it for well over fifty years, it will always be just the right size.
A tiny rocking chair cannot be stored in a way that allows it to sit level no matter which way you push it back into the cubbyhole. The radius on the rocker rails will not allow proper storage in any location other than sitting level on a floor; I surmise that is where it is supposed to be.
I can’t write about the chair in the same way that she thinks of the chair, but I know that there is a sweet undertone to her words when she tells me to leave it be, and that sweet undertone is a dangerous place for me to meddle.
When my boy was a child, he used the chair. He would rock, read, and play with a Matchbox car. He never sat in the chair for long, but it’s not the type of chair that demands child to be relaxed. This chair is designed to move, even if only— slightly— when occupied. It certainly doesn’t belong stuffed into a closet. Not by me. I have a proven track record of failure.
When my granddaughter arrived a couple of years ago, I had no idea how much relief she had brought along with her. Certainly, the chair needed to be pulled out from the closet and placed on a level floor. My time spent digging for things that are not there is not entirely over. But the chair was finally out of the cubbyhole, and, in more ways than one, it was no longer a point of contention or conversation. I have found that the chair gives me far more pleasure while it sits idle on a level floor.
Sure, it would be much better if always filled with ants-in-the-pants wonder and inquisitiveness, but that’s impossible. Someday, I’ll take a few moments to explain to the little girl that it was only her arrival that allowed the tiny chair to be stored properly.
Now that the chair has been freed from the cramped cubbyhole, I must agree that it is just the right size.
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