Monday, April 23, 2012

Picture Parade: Chess, Anyone?

Several weeks in  December and January were spent emptying my mother's (and my) homestead because we finally had a buyer for it.  Nobody had lived there for over a year, but it had only been on the market for a few weeks when, shockingly, we received the providential call that would lead to a sale!  

Unfortunately, being my mother's only child, and the only willing relatives, it fell to my family to completely clean out four floors (and sixty years) of accumulated junk memories, keepsakes, and precious possessions.  Apparently, my mother, grandmother and grandfather didn't throw much away.

This is not to say that there were not many treasures to be found.  It's just that it was backbreaking, arduous, thankless work that mainly fell squarely upon the shoulders of my husband and my two sons at home, Brian and Conor.  However, both Brian and Conor will each tell you, if you ask them separately, that he did most of the work while the other goofed off.  To their credit, though, each of them virtually gave up their social lives and sports activities for weeks, and they really did work their tails off to get the house cleaned out by the deadline.

Long story longer:  the chessboard in the picture below was purchased in Juarez, Mexico, in 1982 by my grandparents.  Back then it used to be safe to cross into Mexico, and the shopping there was a real experience for a Northeast girl like myself.  The chessboard is pink and tan marble, and they also purchased a set of marble chess pieces which, unfortunately, did not resurface during the attic excavation.

The chess pieces themselves came from a complete set of Renaissance Chess Figures manufactured by E.S. Lowe that were fairly popular in the mid-20th century.  (You can find them all over ebay.)  The box and board were flimsy, water-stained cardboard, but the pieces were intact, and there was an inscription in my mother's handwriting recording the year bought.  Amazing that I spent the first 18 years of my life living in that house, and never once before did I come across that chess set.

It was a marriage made in heaven.  Also salvaged was an octagonal pedestal table my grandmother always kept in her living room which was almost the perfect size for the chess board.  I've long dreamed about purchasing one of those pricey chess tables, but instead this was the ideal sentimental substitute.

Overnight, interest in chess flared in my house.  Chess challenges were taking place day and night.  And naturally, the younger girls took an interest in the game:  What is this piece called?  How does it move?  Will you teach me to play?

While they were first beginning to learn, they would challenge each other to some very interesting games using their own rules.  And sometimes they would just freewheel it.

I love the pattern Natalie created here.

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