This old dresser. It’s seen a lot, man. It’s had a more exciting life than most dressers, I believe.
I’ve had this dresser for longer than I can remember. My first memory of it was when I lived on the first floor of an old house, in an old neighbourhood growing up in Calgary. We had a large enclosed porch at this house, with large windows viewing the tall hedge fence that bordered our house from the sidewalk, and that’s where this old dresser resided for many years.
My mother was highly involved with the theater at the time, and she was always bringing home left over costumes and props. Remember Mr. Dressup and his tickle trunk? Well this old dresser was our tickle trunk. Rather, it rested beside many others that created our tickle porch. Anyone who knew my mother knew she was somewhat of a hoarder. Never garbage, or newspapers, or cats, but she hoarded antiques, artifacts, jewelry, and all sorts of other useless but other wise intriguing items. I never realized how big this house we lived in actually was until a moved out many years later.
This tickle-porch was no exception. It was packed to brim with jeweled hats from the 1930’s, Munchkin costumes, foam swords and axes, retro jackets, and fairy wings. There was enough room to walk straight down the middle and the passage between the two front doors. It was heaven for any and all children who lived the play dress up. It would be impossible to even contemplate the amount of hours I spent in this porch, changing my identity as often as I wanted, venturing into new and unknown worlds, and tearing through the neighbourhood behind my masks.
Eventually this old dresser was moved into my room. Whether it was before or after we cleansed ourselves of this miraculous collection, I can’t recall. I have to admit, I take after my mother and am a hoarder in my own rights. And as a child, I hoarded stuffed animals. They were always my toy of choice, and I had more than kid I’ve ever known. My small room was overflowing. On my bed, in my closet, on the floor, any space before the walls, and this old dresser. The top, sides, and shelves were crammed as tight as it could go with all my small, fury friends.
Fast forward many years. We’ve moved to BC with my new step-father and into a much larger home. My parents moved into the basement, and this old dresser followed them. As far as hereditary hoarding goes, clothes was always something my mother and I had in common, and this old dresser was once again stuffed to its breaking point with my moms eccentric clothing that embarrassed me so as a hormonally imbalanced teenager.
After my parents left this world, it was put in storage for a few years as I attempted to find myself. Again, a few years later it comes back into my life. I’ve realized a passion in tattooing, and I utilized it in my home studio for the short time before I opened my own shop.
Now my fiancé and I have moved once again, hopefully into our forever home. On our beautiful, off-grid homestead that came with my very own art studio, this old dresser is once again being given new life. But through it’s whole ordeal under my possession, it’s never been retouched or manicured. It has been sturdy, and durable, and you can tell it came from a time when craftsmanship was done for the long haul. I started the brushstrokes of white, imagining the end result. It was going to look so different, match so well. I saw how it would be brought back to life and washed of the whole. And I felt a twinge or sadness mixed with nostalgia. I contemplated its journey with me, and how it’s been such a constant. I mourned my gone child hood, days of care free playfulness and the ability to change my skin as a chameleon. I grieved the relationship with my parents I would never have. I reveled in the fond memories, and knew this old dresser would always be my friendly yet subtle reminder of all the sparkle that soaked my past.
Now this new dresser will house my paints. This new dresser will withstand jars stuffed with hoarded brushes, sponges, and scrapers. This new dresser will safe-keep spray stencils, spray painted lids, and aerosol cans.
This new dresser isn’t finished its story yet.