Corner View: tables

Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – created by Jane, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. If you’d like to join in, please leave a link to your Corner View post in the comments at the Corner View link, and be sure to visit other participants you’ll find there too. Today’s theme is “table”. What memories do you have of tables? Do they figure in your life?

They do in mine. I remember that my parents hashed out their divorce around a card table they set up in the living room.

I remember a great oak dining table my mother gave me, along with 8 ladderback Hitchcock chairs very much like this one. The problem is she always asked for the furniture back. “I might want that back someday” she would say. Whatever she gave, she said at some point, “Do you still have that oak dining table with the 8 ladderback Hitchcock chairs? Give it back to me”. I put my foot down at giving back the coffee table. I still have it.

My Italian grandmother used to have a large table in her dining room we’d all sit around on Sundays for dinner. Actually she used to have two: a table in the dining room in their city house and another one in their summer house. The city house’s table was heavy and dark, with a huge pedestal and a white linen table cloth that draped down. I used to sit under it and hide. It was my fort. The summer house had a light wood table that was also huge. Relatives used to pile in for Sunday Dinner in an endless stream, and the table was big enough to hold them all. After the kids had eaten and took off for playtime outside, and the men had all repaired to the deck for cigars, the women stayed around the table. The coffee pot was brought out from its warmed stove top burner and put on the table on a mat. The women would smoke and talk and drink coffee all afternoon around one end of the table.

Tables for me are families living, families broken and families dying. So I decided to make my own sentiments and memories about my table.

My favorite table is the formica topped 1950s tables. I think they are cool. Everything old is new again, they say. I used to enjoy the one on the American television sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, in Raymond’s parents’ kitchen

I favor utilitarian things, that are streamlined and functional but also pretty. So I guess that means mid-century modern, if I am to learn anything from the design shows I watch. The kind of table in the show scene above is called Diner Table, because they were used ubiquitously in the American 1950s diners. In the space age we had a fascination with chrome and sleekness that bespoke modern advancement. Even it if was only to hold up a milk shake.

They are very expensive! I could not hope to have one. They cost between $200 and $500 depending on whether the chairs come with them or the leaves are intact. But one day at a yard sale, thank goodness for yard sales! I found one! It had its leaf intact! (though no chairs). It was only, get this, $20!! I bought it immediately even though I didn’t have a kitchen in the apartment I was living in at the time, lol. I stored it in my landlord’s garage.

After a while I moved and I took the chrome diner-style table with me. It is now the world headquarters for Elizabeth Prata Enterprises, that is, everything I want to do! I eat here, I write here, I relax here.

I have my books and reference materials nearby. On those shelves are my pen holders, stapler, notepad, notebooks,  scanner, printer, lamp, and tissues. The ever present tissues for the person with allergies and constant bronchitis, lol! And in the summer, the fan keeps me and the laptop cool. Next to the laptop on the gray Formica, is a cool glass of chilled green tea. In the morning, it’s coffee.

Tables are where families live, and sometimes, where they die. Where people do homework, where memorable meals are taken. We laugh around our tables, cry, pray, eat, and teach our children. Is your table comfortable? Can everyone sit around it? Do you even have a dining table? I lived in two apartments that either had no kitchen or had a kitchen so small there was no room for a table. I find that an apartment without a place with a large, flat surface to spread out is not as comfortable as one that has a nice, big table. I’m glad I have one and I’m glad it’s functional and pretty. How about you?


11 thoughts on “Corner View: tables

  1. I love the formica tables from the 50s. My paternal grandmother had one with a turquoise top that had tiny gold stars on it.

  2. It looks like you've got a good set up there…I'm sure I'd be a lot more productive if my house and work area wasn't such a mess! Most of the tables in my house have got stuff all over the surfaces!

  3. LOL, Mezzamay, that's the problem with flat surfaces…they get filled up! To be fair, I'm the only one who lives here so it's easier to keep straightened up.

  4. My parents had one of those and gave it to my husband and me when we first married. But his folks and even mine wanted us to get a nice wood one and about three years into the marriage, his grandmother died and we got her huge antique dining room set complete with china closet, big buffet, little buffet, and round table that had 3 extensions that could easily seat 12 people. We gave the 50's table and chairs away. (We had to store some of the furniture until we moved to a bigger house, but we fit the table in.)
    Yours looks great and it's even more special because it's what you really wanted.
    I think a house without a table isn't complete. When I was growing up, we always sat around our kitchen table at suppertime and discussed the day's events. My kids remember doing the same around our kitchen table.
    It's also been a place for piles of expenses for taxes, insurance papers and medical bills, school projects, and all the stuff I had to sort out when I was executer of my dad's estate.

  5. We have a wood table that has 4 leaves, which we have used a few times for large gatherings. Mostly it's just the 5 of us around the table with one leaf. I treat it with mineral oil a few times a year.

  6. Interesting about tables and the stories they tell!
    And the way you go from 'family' tables to finding your way of being creative around a work table.
    Sometimes because of all the associations I just like to spread a blanket out on the ground and let the table just exist for the moment it is in, and then pack it up again!!
    In Japan, tables are low to the ground. Perhaps I ought to have shown that for this week but instead I am posting a simple stool serving as a temporary table :))
    Happy Week, happyCV.

  7. oh yes, tables silently see a lot of family life. in Tuscany, I saw a very old table made of three different types of wood (scrap wood), and it had marks and dents on one side where a little corner of it had been dedicated to chopping vegetables (with the “half moon” blade).

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