One Man’s Trash

Cherished Stool
Cherished Workshop Stool

As I look around my workshop, I see hundreds of objects that are important to me. Some are favorite tools. Some are jigs and fixtures that I’ve made to make woodworking easier. Some are antique tools that were given to me, as well as some that I’ve just owned for a long time. It’s a shocking day when you realize that something you bought is now an antique. As I glanced around the room, seeking that one cherished object to write about, I kept coming back to this stool.

This stool isn’t hand made. It wasn’t expensive. It isn’t part of a line of stools made by an important manufacturer. In fact, when I first saw this stool, it was in a heap of trash at the side of the road. The cushion was torn and one leg was badly bent, no doubt the result of someone leaning back on it. My father pointed out, as he retrieved the stool from the trash, that: “things don’t break if you use them properly.” It wasn’t the first time I had heard that statement.

My dad cut the bad leg off above the bend and then cut the other legs to match. He added four ill-fitting rubber feet to the end of the legs, put a piece of tape across the tear and set the stool behind the counter at Bridgeville Recreation Center, the bowling alley he managed. Later that week, he cut a piece of material from yet another piece of discarded furniture and used that to “reupholster” the seat.

That was over 50 years ago.

I used to sit on the stool and do my homework when I was with him at the bowling alley on a school night. Once I started helping him behind the counter, I didn’t sit.

It makes you look lazy. You want to look like you’re ready to help someone as they approach the counter.”

After the bowling alley closed, he took the stool home to his workshop. It spent most of its life holding things like cans of paint, because, if you were helping him, you didn’t sit. You also didn’t sit while working, because “you have to put your weight into that tool” and like that.

After he died, I put the stool in my workshop. Later, I moved the stool to my cabinet shop and, when that closed, I brought it home again. When our daughter was little, she sat on this stool, out of harm’s way when she visited me in my shop. These days, since we’re both working in the shop, neither of us sits very often. Sometimes, when we are working on plans or when my wife brings us toast or sliced cucumbers to munch on, we will sit for a few minutes. Mostly, it holds cans of stain or small tools.

Still, my shop wouldn’t feel right without that stool


This post is part of the 2016 Cherished Blogfest, an event started with a small group of creative friends in 2015. If you have a cherished object, you can join the blogfest until midnight tomorrow – July 31st. I think it’s a thing.

Also, I think it’s appropriate that this is the 500th post on No Facilities.

117 thoughts on “One Man’s Trash

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  1. Beautiful post, Dan. Your dad gave you some true gems of advice. Thanks for co-hosting this Blogfest. Two years and going strong–it is now officially ‘a thing.’ Congratulations on 500 posts. Whew! That’s a lot of writing and picture taking. And I enjoy all of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan, I’d say this is a home run for your 500th post. :-) I’m fighting back tears here while I comment. I love the story behind this little stool, and I think I really would have liked your Dad’s work ethics. This is one special stool that really got lucky going from the curb to life with four generations of Antions. Wonderful story. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. He was pretty easy to like. He made his points clearly, but he always seemed to have a reason. I learned so much behind the counter at that little bowling alley. The 500th thing was a happy accident, but it did make me smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That is a lovely stool, Dan. This reminds me of a steel chair my mother had. It belonged to my grandma. My grandma used to use it in her balcony watching people pass by. When she grew old, she felt bit uncomfortable sitting on it so my mother used it. I saw that chair in my home balcony since my childhood days. One fine morning it wasn’t there. Someone stole it. We all panicked, but a long distance friend of my mother saw it being sold in a junk shop in her neighborhood. She came to us asking if our chair was stolen and we were like, how do you know? She told us about it and she, my mom and dad rushed to the junk shop. They came back with the chair an hour later. And my grandma’s chair was back in the balcony.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a remarkable story Sharukh. I’m so glad they found it. Such a journey. I have a few things that belonged to my grandmother, and I would be very sad to lose track of them. Nothing valuable, but very special things.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan, I love that you picked something with so many years and memories attached to it. It reminds me of a saying, “If that stool could talk,” because it’s been a number of places (even before your dad found it), it’s had a number of people sit on it and it’s heard quite a few conversations. I always smile when I see Faith working in your shop because it reminds me of what you’ve taught her over the years in how to use tools, and how awesome a father/daughter relationship can be. I bet Faith will end up with that stool in her house some day, holding a can of paint or something…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. Almost every memory I have of this stool is tied to family. It’s just been there, like a quiet observer. If it could talk… I’m pretty sure Faith will hang onto the stool. Sometimes I feel bad for her. As an only child, she has a big pile of stuff to sort through, unless her mother and I listen to her and do some of it before…yeah, that’s not our style.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Congratulations on #500!! That is an achievement and it is appropriate that it should include a discussion about your dad, the pastime you love, and Faith!

    I think it’s a fine looking stool with an interesting history. Your dad was a wise man :)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Joanne. He passed on a “we can fix that” / “we can make that” attitude to me, and, apparently to Faith. She loves spending time in the shop, making things that could easily be purchased, but enjoying the time more than the value of the item.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. First of all, this is cherished because of your personal family history. This makes it like plated in gold! I am like your Dad, choosing sturdy or fixable stuff out of the trash.
    Secondly, your bowling alley/homework story, the visiting with wife or having young Faith sitting on this over the years, makes this priceless.
    Dan, the workshop looks so homey and much like my own father’s garage counter and “shop” it gave me sentimental (3rd and lastly) tears. Dad would have been 84 on July 31. Thanks for this excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Robin. The items we cherish aren’t for their own value, it is the connections they hold. I’ve enjoyed the stories you’ve shared about your dad. I think he and my dad would have gotten along well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Dan, the connections make all the difference!
        Thank you for saying this as I also have enjoyed hearing (reading) stories about your father, too. They both had good work ethics, stick to it policies and a pride in family. Sometimes the serious nature of fathers may block their warmth from being felt or sensed, but definitely the fun side came out in my Dad and he would have enjoyed your Dad, too. :)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan, you always make me wish I had a father like yours. My dad died when I was very little. My memories of him are scanty, indistinct.
    That stool is an antique. I would cherish it myself.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Peter. My father died young, I was barely 30, but I had spent so much time at his side as a child that I feel like I have a lifetime’s worth of memories. I’m am sorry you lost your father at such a young age, Judging by his son, I’d say he must have been a good man.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great story behind this stool, Dan. Your dad reminds me of mine with his no-nonsense statements such as, “Things don’t break if you use them properly.”
    I always think that a novel set in a bowling alley would be terrific. So unusual.
    Looking forward to discovering everyone’s cherished object this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Evelyne, I certainly saw and heard and learned a lot in that bowling alley. It was a little seedy, and it attracted some sketchy character, to be sure. It sounds like our fathers both had a way of making a point without overdoing it. He just put things out there as indisputable facts.

      Like

    1. Thank you :) it’s all about the association these things have with people. I love your post about the polar bears. I’ll comment when I get to the device that remembers my Google login. I could look it up but, let’s say it’s in the v-berth of my head.

      Like

  9. What a wonderful Cherished stool! I loved the story, and images. It’s really cool that you still have the stool! Your Dad passed on a lot of great advise, and practices.

    I like the doors on the old bowling alley. You really had the luck the day you went by and found the door open!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He taught by example and really simple statements. You just couldn’t argue. There was a time when we agreed that, as a stool, it’s not that practice but we couldn’t throw it away.

      We were prepared to knock and explain but they were just open.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Someone could write a very touching story from the personified viewpoint of that stool. The story could begin with the tragedy of the leg getting bent and the stool being tossed away as if it were just a piece of junk. Despair at the side of the road. From there, a story of redemption would play very nicely. Perhaps it could be written in the form of a poem. This might even make a great fiction writing prompt with a picture of the stool and your backstory as the basis.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. We need more people like your dad and now you. Reuse rather than toss and buy new. And the stool is unique, so that makes it even more interesting. Loved reading your post and meeting you on the Cherished Blogfest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Dan –
      Thank you for this very powerful post. Thank you also for helping to initiate this blogfest. Both your post, and the post of others on this site, have re-opened my eyes to “cherished objects”. They are truly all around me!
      PS – I was also impressed to read that you have an ‘editor’. I definitely need to get me one of those!
      Donna

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for all of that. My wife fills that role pretty well. She’s a grammar n… Well, she’s good at grammar. She’s also really good at pointing out what doesn’t make sense.

        Like

  12. Congratulations on this milestone post Dan! I love the stool and all the memories that are embedded in it 💛
    Here’s to more cherish filled posts 😎
    I hope to come back to more over the week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wonderful!
    I have the stepstool that was for ‘us kids’ at my grandparents’ house. I didn’t want it until I saw my dad had it. Years later, he said, “I don’t know if you want this, but this was actually the…”
    “I know exactly what it is,” I told him :)

    Like

  14. Lovely post! We live in such a disposable age that keeping something, anything for 50 years is a truly remarkable! And for a stool that’s that age, it actually looks like it’s pretty good shape! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. The amount of steel in that stool would probably bd enough gyro make a set of four today. They really made things to last back then. And, I’m quite a bit heavier today than I was when I was 10 ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I love the stool, and especially the generations of little stories it holds! I’m sure your daughter will want to keep it forever, as well. My dad is also similar, always finding the diamonds in the rough that get left behind– breathing new life into them– telling us about our great-grandparents and their ingenuity with salvaging every little thing. It’s definitely a lost art that is slowly making its way back. Lovely post and happy 500th!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I think you’re right about that attitude making a comeback. I see it with my daughter. Some of her friends wonder why she would make or repair something but others are very supportive. I love the memorize the stool holds and the lessons i learned working with my dad.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Well, a very happy 500th post, Dan! I like it when an otherwise ordinary object has such special meaning for someone. It just goes to show that even though we speak about cherished “objects”, in every case, it’s really the memories and the people who are attached to them that we cherish the most.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ha, Dan, I normally would have already commented on this, but guess what? Your little blogfest has been taking me to a lot of other blogs! So blame yourself. ;D

    This stool is a great selection, but what really makes it for me is the fact that, yes, you pulled it from the trash and MADE it into something special. A fitting subject for your 500th post, since your blog itself is something special. Congratulations! Here’s to the next 500.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul. And thanks for reading some of the other posts. I get carried away with these posts, too. I’m still catching up on my normal weekend reads. Thanks also for the 500th mention. This blog wasn’t pulled from the trash, but it grew out of a declining technical blog, and eventually became bigger. It’s been more fun from day-1 and I’ve met the best community of people.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Simply awesome Dan. And congrats on the 500th post. What a wonderful cherished object. So many old memroies and still collecting. What stories that stool could tell! I love it. I think I would have loved your Dad too. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cheryl. That stool could tell some stories, for sure. I think you would have loved him. I know my wife did, and she only knew him for a couple of years. He had such a simple approach to life, but it worked. Also, you might appreciate that, in retirement, he went back to work as a bartender ;)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Like it? I so love that! Gives me hope that my little dream may still come true. I at least got to stand on the bar last night. Lol completley other story….
        Dads can be so bigger than life. Should give your own status as one whole new meaning..

        Like

  19. I tried to share on FB but it is being hinky again today. It comes and goes. I think it is on their end. Shared with g+ and twitter though! You have such a rich legacy of memories my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I reblogged on MPF Conservation; I love the stories behind the pieces. I can see you and your dad, and now you and Faith… I missed the 500th because I skipped over the info on CBF16 — but glad others alerted me to it. Here is to 500 more!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Sentimental. Oh yes I so relate. Your post had a lump in my throat it just did. Lovely memories are deeply coded into that stool over generations who have used it. It’s a fitting place to have it in your workshop where I would bet you spend a lot of time in. And I would also think that every time you see this cherished stool, you remember your Dad. I have a pair of slippers I knitted for my Dad that I now have, along with his sweater that bring up emotions like your stool does for you. Beautiful post, Dan. Yes, that lump in still in my throat and my eyes are stinging. <3

    Liked by 1 person

  22. It contains much of your life,that stool. Not ‘just’ a piece of furniture. I love things that we bring with us through time, things that have meaning and have so much more meaning than their intended purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Wow! You’ve had that stool for 50 years in your family! Thank you for sharing the story of how your dad acquired it and how it has been used over the years. Your story reminds me of the book The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco. Congrats on your 500th post – it’s quite fitting that you chose to write about something you cherish on this milestone post. Happy weekend to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This post reminds me of my Uncle! He can fix anything and has his own shop at a music store. I think it’s awesome how many generations of your family can appreciate the stool–that’s the beauty of antiques.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Dan, one my Dad’s hobbies was a woodwork. He made stools for all five of his children. When I go home to my Mother’s (Dad died in 2013) my stool is there in the room ready for me to put stuff on, stand on, sit on, whatever. Those stools were cherished by us as yours is by you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s pretty cool. I made a bunch of things for our daughter as she was growing up, and she helped me in the shop as early as she could. I’m sure those stools your dad made will stand for generations.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Congratulations on your 500th post! I just LOVE your chosen object! That’s a wonderful solid memory, right there. I’m also one of those people who want to keep using the same thing as long as I can. I like to be able to say, “the stool,” or “the paring knife” or “the white bowl” and there be no question of “which one?” Everybody KNOWS which one! THE one! Thanks for getting me in on this blog fest, Dan. I cherish it.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I grew up in a family full of DIY-ers who were rather thrifty. Even today, I can never throw something away easily without wondering if it can’t be used somehow. I love your Dad. What a wonderful read, Dan! Thank you. Lump in my throat!

    Liked by 1 person

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