The Grand Lampstand
Picture It Competition Entry – Picture C
It should be said; I didn’t always look like this.
I was born in 1951 and stood grandly in the Lampshade Department of The Myer Emporium waiting to be sold. No-one else had turned rings all the way up the stand like I had, each one carefully worked to provide a scalloped look, with my three-tiered base to match, and finished off with a hat of cream satin edged with a double row of piping below a band embroidered with beautiful miniature flowers. The wood had been stained a pleasant maple colour and the clear varnish had been applied so generously and smoothly, it looked as though it had been French polished. What made me special though, was the expensive looking tassel that had to be pulled to turn my light on and off. The tassel was a No. 472, the top grade in tassels.
Not surprising, then, I was chosen to be a wedding present for Helen and Jim, given to them by their Best Man, and moved into a brand new house in the outer suburb of Blackburn where the newlyweds now resided. My position as chief item of interest in the lounge room was unchallenged and I gave a lovely subdued lighting to the room when friends visited.
Five years later I was reduced to second place by a new fangled mechanism called a TV, sitting in the opposite corner to me, and, as it was the year of the Olympics held in Melbourne, there was always a crowd of people gathered around the set each night for the duration of the Games. It was all very exciting and I noted it all with interest.
After a few years the TV was replaced by a bigger, better and more beautiful one. TVs had advanced, but they still needed my gentle light for comfortable viewing. Helen and Jim’s children arrived one by one, and when the eldest, Zoe, eventually grew to be tall enough she’d pull my light on and off non-stop. But tassel No. 472 was pretty tough and survived all the teasing.
A move to a bigger house relegated me to a minor bedroom, with my soft satin material now drooping and with paint spots here and there on my stand, acquired when, minus hat, I was used for extra light while rooms were being painted; I was aware that I was beginning to look a bit tatty. Zoe, now a grown woman, took me aside for a makeover. My varnish was sanded off, I was painted white and had a new hat; it was in black and white, the very latest in lampshade styles and I was smart looking again.
Now it is 2015 and Helen is on her own. She has grown tired and is moving to an aged care facility, constricted to taking very few pieces of furniture. So she took a bed, a chest of drawers, a new TV and … me! I am looking tatty again in fact quite knocked about after being loaned to Zoe whose energetic children had her same fascination for turning me on and off, but I can still shed a pleasant light for Helen to read under, watch the TV in comfort, and be useful to someone who loves me.
I’ve ended up a bit like my owner, not smartly turned out any more but glad to be able to exist in my old comfortable persona. Helen has always had a sympathetic disposition, willing to help others, and with a personality that always shone brightly. She is doing that now while meeting new people for the first time in this place of quiet relaxation, and, as old friends, we are both trying to be useful while we are here.
Bio: Shirley thinks it doesn’t matter if you look tatty, it’s friendship and love that bind you to someone.