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The Reassurance of Age

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

"The public, as whole, finds reassurance in longevity, and, after the necessary interlude of reaction, is disposed to recognise extreme old age as a sign of excellence. The long-liver has triumphed over at least one of man's initial handicaps: the brevity of life." Vita Sackville-West, from All Passion Spent (p5). To this I say, SURRENDER. Before the sheet is pulled over, before and the stiches are pulled and moth-eaten; before the wood becomes dust, and we lose the words of our ancestors, accept what we are given and make the most of it.

I was always told that this chair was the last remaining piece of a dining room set that belonged to my great-great grandparents. Well, not true. This is a black walnut Victorian lady's needlepoint parlor chair dating from the 1860s-1870s. While I can't be sure to which great-great grandmother this belonged, I'm reasonably certain it was from the home Jobst Heinrich Woerheide built on Papin av. in St. Louis, MO. Having learned this, I have a completely new perspective on my great-great grandparents. The table is newer, marked on the underside as the first living room table of George and Georgia (Grund) Stimson after their marriage in 1938 in St. Louis. The porringer (a shallow bowl originating in Medieval Europe, made of pewter with a flat horizontal handle) sitting on the table was a gift, likely for a donation, at the 1948 Veiled Prophet ball held in St. Louis. My great grandfather, William T. Grund, was a prominent businessman in St. Louis, so he is the best candidate to have been a Veiled Prophet supporter.

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