Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Reupholstering and Monessen





Now the back is off. I pried off these little cap pieces on the front of the arms. They are flummoxing little bits. There is cardboard, padding, fabric, and welting, and now that I've taken it apart, I think it's going to be a difficult to reassemble. They are the only pieces with long nails, they come out the back, but don't show in the front. The back is stapled liberally, which also doesn't show in the front. There is a lot of invisible construction in these little pieces.



Husband stepped in at the end when I got really tired of pulling staples, especially these oddly angled ones under the chair arms. My womanly little arms just gave out on me.... ok, not really, I raced him, ripping the staples out of the other arm. I won.... not that it matters.

My grandmother bought this furniture in Monessen- a town in southwestern Pennsylvania named for Essen, Germany and the Monongahela River. The dictionary says you pronounce it MonongaHEELA, but everyone I ever knew says MonongaHAYLA. At its largest, about 1940, Monessen had over 20,0000 residents and now it is down to about 8,000. The largest employer was U.S. Steel, and it was customary at that time for the employees to have different pay rates based on their ethnicity. A practice I had hoped this country had come to realize was grossly unfair, but at any farm in America you can still find this practice is quite common.

It was also common for ethnic groups to cluster around each other and speak their own languages and carry on their own customs. One custom that they all seemed to share was going for picnics. At the time of prohibition picnics in the country were great for drinking and gambling. Different ethnic groups went to different farms, but did the same thing- they called it "going to Canada". My grandfather was a bootlegger, and I didn't find out until after my grandmother's death in 2005 because she never allowed anyone to talk about it.

Thanks to winning Jenny Matlock's AlphabeThursday drawing, I am going to buy a book about Monessen's history that I've had my eye on. Thank You, Jenny! (around our house I call her "Arizona Jenny". Arizona Jenny said this and Arizona Jenny sent me that and do you know what Arizona Jenny did today??) I bet you don't know what she's doing right now! Why don't you go to her blog and find out?
Monessen Today
Monessen Then

5 comments:

Debbie said...

Nice job on the chair!~ Congrats to on your win from Arizona Jenny, that is funny!~

5thsister said...

your post on reupholstering has encouraged me to never try this on my own! LOL!

I love "Arizona Jenny"! I like the nickname you have given her as well. Enjoy your prize!

Mumsy said...

It looks great so far! That is a big job to tackle.

Kass said...

That chair is a huge undertaking, but it will be worth it. Congrats on winning.

Melinda Cornish said...

My neighbor had a chair just like that.....it is a daunting job, but I think it is going to look great...
I never had heard the phrase "going to Canada"...that is so funny.....