Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Store Shelf

My maternal grandmother's parents owned a hardware and farm implement store in the tiny town near where I grew up.*

In Coatesville, every point in history falls into one of two distinct categories: Before the Tornado and After the Tornado.

On Good Friday in 1948, the Tornado touched down, destroyed half the town and killed fourteen people. The temporary morgue was set up in my great-grandparents' house. The store was leveled, along with everything else in that block of main street.

So they rebuilt.

My grandfather and grandmother owned and worked at the store together until they retired in the late '70s. I'm too young to remember them at the store, but the stories--oh, the stories.

They built two shelves, one at each end of the parts department. After they retired, the shelves lived in their garage.

And I rescued one.

It was filthy. Really, really filthy. The back was not worth saving, so I tore it off.

I cleaned it with soap and water, and I began painting.

I wanted the wood dividers to stay as they were (just a bit cleaner). My mom says the writing on them is my Grandfather's.

I had pinned this picture a long time ago. It seemed like the right inspiration for this shelf.

I am pleased to report that I owned all these paint colors. Our house looks like the love child of Crayola and Ikea. The purple is in an upstairs bathroom, the blue in our entryway, the green in our kitchen, the orange in another bathroom, and the red in an upstairs bedroom. Actually, to be honest, I had to buy more red. I had used the entire gallon painting two walls of that upstairs bedroom.

The shelf is pretty narrow--just over 7"-- so Andrew attached it to the wall. We learned there are no studs in that area. The only thing we can think is that the builder started to put a window there and then realized it wasn't supposed to be there. Hooray for molly bolts!

I can't tell you how much it means to me to have this in my house.

It's far from pristine. The dividers obviously were build from some scrap wood, and the labels for each compartment are written in permanent marker. Any time I accidentally touched the wood, the white paint was there to stay.

But it's perfect.

I think my grandparents would be pleased. 

I miss them.

*I grew up in the country outside the tiny town. Our address was the town, but we were outside "city" limits. Can I even use the word city when describing Coatesville? Probably not.


  1. That's pretty awesome..... I really like the blue in your living room. What all are you going to put in/on the shelves?

  2. That? Is lovely. Completely lovely. What a piece of personal family history!