Love Letter to a Rocker


[*this is a cross-post from Earth Hearth]

The year is 1958.

The wool of her pleated skirt is pressed just so and lays flat along her knees. Her sleeves pouf slightly and only the top button of her cotton blouse is left opened. No crumbs decorate her starched and pristine top. A wide belt is cinched at her waist, reminding her to maintain proper posture.

Perhaps she is humming a lullaby, or listening to the faint voices of The Platters crooning “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” from the burl wood-clad radio. Maybe her gingham apron is folded neatly at the side table, unfastened in a hurry mid-stir to feed the baby. He will arrive home soon and park his car among the California sun and rolling hills. He will leave his hat and overcoat on the rack near the door, and loosen his tie as he calls out her name. As he enters the room, he leans against the door with his hands in his pockets, fiddling with his gold timepiece and sees her there: one sturdy pump dandles from her toes as the other gently pushes against the grain of the floor to rock the chair up and down. Light filters through the floor to ceiling glass of the window, illuminating the pitched beams and the blush of her cheek.

Her ruby red lips will form a “hussssh” as her eyelids softly fall closed and her hands pat the back of the baby. All the while she rocks and leans into the molded fiberglass of this fabulous chair, given to her just weeks prior by Herman Miller on the event of her child’s birth:

Eamesrocker_2The Eames rocker. Iconic. Organic. Compact yet comfortable. Made to suit small (and short) frames.

And mine, all mine. Authentically vintage (sustainable!) and well-loved, gifted to me for Christmas by my mid-century enthusiast brother Craig and his mod-lovin’ Robin. The duo surprised me after I dropped an unintentional hint (I swear!) about how much I love “that rocker” they had listed on their eBay site. Carefully wrapped and shipped and arrived in perfectly retro condition last week.

It fits like a glove.

Yes, this scene is what I imagine as I stretch my bare feet out to touch the dirty carpet of my living room floor and rock away. My mind imagines that the chair called an Eichler its abode instead of a Del Webb tract home. I hope it was nestled under a Nelson ball clock and just a room away from a Saarinen Tulip table. I like to pretend I can feel the women and men who perched themselves on the edge of its seat to read the morning news. I wonder what she smelled like, and what was cooking for dinner on the Wedgewood stove, as she took a break to nurse the baby in this seat. I like to think her life was a bit more glamorous than my yoga-panted, t-shirted, tousled-hair desert dwelling. But I hope it was filled with just as much gratitude, love, and a dash of the same kind of craziness.

And the smooth, dreamy rock, rock, rocking of this unpretentious chair.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Bobbi says:

    The post and the chair – gorgeous. But what struck me was THE BABY! When did she get so big?? She’s beautiful…

  2. mb says:

    and i so thought this was a love letter to me:-)

    (the rock rocks, too.)


  3. mb says:

    i meant: the rocker rocks, too. ugh. brain dead.

  4. Joanna says:

    Awesome, Leigh, the chair and the kid :). Good to read you again. Don’t take such a break between posts next time ;).

  5. Jena Strong says:

    A yoga-panted, t-shirted, tousled-hair desert dwelling sounds so inviting. Who needs glamour with a chair like that?

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