Thursday 27 Oct 2016

My Old Dresser
AJ Robinson

It never ceases to amaze me s how my mind connects with certain items. Just last week, I went to visit one of my brothers; he lives not too far from me. He had an old dresser, in his house, which he thought I might want.

It had been my dresser when I was a little boy, back on Arlington, MA. He even sent me a picture of it. My memories of the dresser were dim, but I did recall it. My wife suggested we go ahead and get it; maybe we could re-finish it. Then we could get rid of our bigger dresser.

On one of my day’s off from work, I drove on over to where my bother lives and got the dresser. It sure looked a lot smaller than I remembered. The last time I saw it, my eye line was just about at the top drawer.

My eye line is a lot higher now.

The old girl didn’t look that different. The drawers were in good shape and the one with the broken handle still had its wire replacement. My dad was unable to find a proper handle to put in its place, so he used some wire and tape to cobble something together.

I never minded; all that mattered was that I had a dresser of my own. You see, when you’re the fifth of five boys, getting something to call your own is important, especially when you’re very young. I so loved that dresser that I wanted to make sure everyone knew it was mine. I used my penknife to carve my initials into several of the drawers. Yeah, my mom and dad weren’t too pleased about that.

Then there was the penny. In the back of the top drawer, I dropped a penny one day and it somehow got wedged in there. Now, as I was a little kid, I didn’t exactly have good dexterity; I certainly didn’t have strong fingers. I couldn’t get it free. It was quite disappointing. After all, this was back in the day when a penny would get you a gumball out of a machine. It was quite the important sum of money, at least to a child of six. I tried hard to get it free, but ultimately had to give up.

I forgot about the dresser.

Then came the day when we moved away from the old house. The dresser moved, too, but ended up in another room and later shuffled off to the cellar or attic. I grow older. I moved up and out, and went off to college. I forgot about the dresser.

Until the other day, that is. It turned out, my mom had given it to my brother and now that he was moving into his new house, he wanted to get rid of it. If I would come get it, it could be mine again.

Naturally, I raced up there, and we packed it into the back of my van. Yes, the drawers still had my initials carved into them, the stain was a bit faded and it even had the same aroma as I remembered. Once home, my wife and I did a little re-arranging in the bedroom and we were able to set up the dresser. The drawers easily slid into place and I filled them with my things.

In the top drawer was the old penny.

Then I saw it, still stuck back in the top drawer, was the penny. Ah, but now I was bigger and stronger; my hand fingers now big enough, with the ability to grab that stubborn coin. I was able to get it free and I looked it over. It was a 1967 penny. I set it on my desk, my new one. Yeah, I think I’ll hang onto it and maybe build some new memories.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

More by AJ Robinson:
Tell a Friend

Click above to tell a friend about this article.

Please report typos or corrections
to the editor