Saturday, August 14, 2010

The table

In the midst of preparing to move house, I unfolded Mum’s card table—for the first time since it arrived here last February. It is a pretty splendid piece of furniture, and I wanted to take some photographs so that it can be appraised for insurance purposes, along with everything else. I have an idea it came from Gordon Grove after Nan died.
The carved scrolls, tapering pedestal, shapely platform base, and the scalloped “bun” feet on casters, are I suspect an overweight Edwardian homage to an Empire or Regency prototype. I wonder if it is Australian. I had forgotten—if I ever knew—that when you swivel the top ninety degrees but before you unfold it, a shallow compartment is revealed. And there, in the compartment, I was startled to discover four pens, four pencils, four Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia Bridge Scorers, and four spares (from the Cottage By The Sea” children’s charity at Queenscliff), all primed and ready to go.
Win. Lose. We. They. It was like feeling her hand on my shoulder, and hearing her voice: “Ango.” “Darling!” I gasped, and had to sit down. Then the tears came. It was the suddenness and unexpectedness of the discovery, I suppose, and the absolute Mumness of that bit of Mum that was waiting for me there: Characteristically neat and tidy. Carefully organized. The used pages carefully removed, but ghostly columns of indented penciled or ball-pointed numerals just visible on the fresh page.
In other words supreme order was still maintained inside the card table, despite its having been shipped across the Pacific, and by truck from Seattle, right across the continental United States to New Haven, Conn. Only two sheets left in one, the one sitting on top, but that’s two more games: Waste not, want not. God, how I miss her!

1 comment:

  1. In the family line, I note that in the scanning in of Australian newspapers we find
    " Messrs. Alexander Hay Borthwick, William Arthur Borthwick, and the Trustee Executors, and Agency Company Limited are applying for probate of the will and codicils of the late William Borthwick, formerly of Bald Hills, Fulham, but late of 23 Martin Street. Elwood, who died on August 28. The estate, which is valued for probate at ?28,728, consists of realty £11,100. and personalty £17,378, and is held in trust for his widow and children."
    Tuesday 9 October 1928