I Remember Mom: Remembering Mom’s Old Rocking Chair

By Richard Mabey Jr.


I think that old homesteads have a life unto themselves. I know that this will be a bit of a controversial statement to many. But I think that the breath, the fiber, the vibrations, the rhythm, the essence of an old homestead has a certain unique and wondrous personality. A certain calling, a feeling, a remnant essence of the people who once occupied the home.


It was a most uncanny thing that my dear and sweet great grandmother, Dora Mabey, found great solace and comfort in the rocking chair that graced the living room of the old Mabey Homestead. It was uncanny, that my dear, kind mother, Janey Mabey, also found solace and comfort in spending time sitting upon a rocking chair that was almost in the exact same place where Great Grandma Mabey’s old rocking chair was placed for decades.


My mom loved to crotchet colorful afghan blankets. I remember, growing up in the old Mabey Homestead, that all so many wonderful afghans filled the rooms of my house, including the bedrooms. They simply abounded in the home.


I was five years old, when Mom would rock my baby sister, Patti, to sleep. Mom would sing lullabies to Patti to help her fall into the comfort of deep sleep. No doubt, the back-and-forth movement of Mom’s old rocking chair also helped my sister to drift into restful dreamland.


My dad, from time to time, referenced the Twilight Zone feeling that his grandmother rocked him to sleep in a rocking chair that was set in almost the exact place in the living room, as Mom had her rocking chair placed at.


Now, at 68 years old, and basically retired from working a 48-hour workweek, I have the time now to ponder and contemplate how uniquely strange and eerie it is that my mom’s rocking chair was in practically the exact place as my great grandmother kept her rocking chair.


There was a time period in my life, when I lived alone in the old Mabey Homestead for long periods of time. Mom and Dad would often take car rides out to Nevada to visit Dad’s older brother, Edward and his wife Joy. My sister Patti was attending seminary. To be alone, in the wee hours of the night, in the old Mabey Homestead, was often a most eerie and haunting experience.


I remember something would awaken me in the middle of the night. I could hear, downstairs from the living room, the sound of the old rocking chair squeaking. It was a most unsettling feeling.


This was in the midst of the 1980’s. At the time, I worked in the Public Relations Department at AT&T, in Morristown. Work began at eight o’clock sharp. I would make it a point, to be at my desk by at least quarter to eight every morning. This meant waking up at five-thirty in the morning, because I always liked to leave my house at six-thirty, just in case there was a lot of traffic that morning.


I would have oatmeal for breakfast, every morning. I often remember sitting at the kitchen table of the old Mabey Homestead, eating breakfast at about six o’clock and hearing the subtle sound of the squeaking of Mom’s old rocking chair in the living room.


Can any of us really say what really governs the essence, the feeling, the spirit of an old homestead? If you have ever stepped foot into an older home, you probably know exactly what I am talking about. My great grandfather, William Mabey, built the old Mabey Homestead in 1890. It still stands today.


As a child, in grade school, I would often read the funny pages of the newspaper on the floor of the old Mabey Homestead. I would often lie down, face down, buried in the Sunday funnies. I distinctly remember looking up from reading Barney Google, to see Mom crocheting another colorful afghan blanket. Today, that memory brings great comfort to my heart.


Hold dear to heart, your own unique truth of all things beyond scientific explanation. Know that God cannot be limited. Love cannot be boxed in. Could it be that the love of my beloved great grandmother, beckoned to my mom to place her rocking chair in practically the exact same place that Great Grandma Mabey had kept her own rocking chair? There are some things that are simply unexplainable.


Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at richardmabeyjr@hotmail.com. Please put on the subject line: I Remember Mom.

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