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  • Mom loved the story about Great Aunt Marie’s “Rock of Gibraltor” painting. That alone made it worth the telling. Ken called her on Saturday and read it to her. She doesn’t get on-line much, herself – even before her eyes started to fail her. I described Cowbird to her. She said, “What you wrote meant so much to all of us. We already knew the details, but you wove such a lovely story around them. I’m curious, though, how others outside the family respond to it?”

    Hmmm….I wonder that, too. I was so excited when I first entered this community, I jumped right in and spun out a handful of my favorite story subjects, including that one, before I took the time to read and love others’, and started following other story-tellers’ stories. (Leave it to a flaming “E” on the Myers-Briggs!) Kathy wasn’t here to read the instructions for me, so I just did what I do, but eventually I figured it out…i.e., finally read the instructions that were right there!

    So, now that I have your attention, I thought I would sprout this related story from that one, in hopes that you’ll also read the seed to this one. Actually, you’ll want to read that one first, before you go past this paragraph, o.k.? Here, have a seat in one of these fine platform rockers here (careful, though – they are a story all to themselves!), I’ll fix you a cup of Joe or a spot of tea. There you are. So, click on the seed to this one, down there in the lower left corner of the page, have a good read, then come on back…

    Ah, you’re back. Hello again. I hope you liked it. Now, for this story. It really is linked to that one. These were Great Grandfather Martin Hager’s rockers. 1875. A Civil War veteran, married now, running a fine wallpaper business and general store, picks up these fine rockers for himself and his lovely bride (Great Grandma Hager).

    These rockers eventually make their way to the house on Stanton Avenue in Pittsburgh, that he buys as the business thrives. They sit in the den/library on the second floor there. Their youngest daughter, Eulalie, eventually moves in with her husband, James – Grandma and Grandpa Bridgeman. They have 9 children of their own there, including James, Jr., their 4th child and only boy – Dad.

    4 years old – playing alone in the den. Discovery - matches produce fire when struck on wood! Fascination! Again! Drop the match in the wastebasket. Newspapers. Fire! Little Jimmy quickly leaves the den, closing the door behind him. It doesn’t go away. They find it – put it out – no major damage. The rockers are burnt, but are salvageable. Re-covered and restored. First of many times.

    Grandma eventually moves out of Stanton Avenue. Furniture slated to go to charity. Jim now has 7 children of his own, and a big old house in Brookline. Plenty of room to store a lot of these family treasures. Several truckloads of the old furniture make their way to Brookline. Charity begins at home!

    He begins to restore and re-cover – a lifelong hobby, eventually a little business in retirement. Comes upon these rockers. Begins to restore ... "hmm, black scorch marks on the wooden base of this one". Memories of a 4 year-old’s discovery of fire come flooding back! “I’ll preserve these marks, as reminders”. Some parts of the story are best left intact.

    Today, they sit in my living room. Still telling their stories. Still part of the family. Just a couple of old rockers….but, oh, so much more.
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