Monday, November 14, 2011

End of an Era...

No exaggeration... today construction, or rather, demolition, starts in the rec room at my parents' home.  Panelling will be ripped out, carpet torn up, old bathrooms dismantled, and this piece of family history will exist only in pictures and minds:
The bar.

Built by my uncle Fergus in 1967, it has been a real cornerstone in our family, and, like the rec room itself, is something I identify completely with Dad.

He was always either sitting in front of the bar in 'his' corner chair, or standing behind it (I can't find any photos right now but I know there are tons).  Family events always had Dad holding court there, often surrounded by grandchildren and doing goofy things.  The happy face mugs?  Classic... been there the whole time.  Countless hors d'oeuvres, drinks and cakes were served from there, and when kids got a little too rowdy, it was a safe haven for some of us to observe from.

Selecting (and emptying) the bottles is something I have some memory of my parents enjoying, and I think the selection accurately reflects their taste back then - Mateus, Casal Mendes, sweet, hurts-your-teeth-to-think-of-it stuff - and the bottles... oh, the bottles...

We all had our favourites, these are mine
 In all honesty, I'm sure some of the paint worn off the monkey was from me patting it over the years.

Harder to see it go than I would have thought.

The fireplace opposite the bar, also built by my uncle, is staying but will be painted
Again, no pictures handy, but this, with the packed bookshelves that used to be over it, was the backdrop for countless configurations of family portraits.

Yesterday Mom and I finished dismantling one other key piece of our family's history, the blue faux leather couch (seen in pic of Dad making a face at the camera).  It's been the site of so many things - TV dinners, I recovered from wisdom teeth surgery there, my brother Mike used to get up at noon as a teenager so he could lie on the couch, swathed in blankets, and spend his afternoons watching Scooby-Doo.  And in more recent years it was the go-to site for the traditional Christmas Eve pictures of grandchildren.

My mom had bought it as a used couch and recovered it herself, and being very thorough, used maybe a vigintillion nails, as confirmed by the vigintillion holes in my hands today.  The frame was gorgeous, solid hardwood of some sort - you'd never find that in furniture today - which was good because it held up through the decades of use we threw at it.

Mom seems excited about the prosper of changing it all, but she has always, to my mind, been happiest with a home decoration or renovation project on the go, and this is a big one.

So, truly, a huge part of our family's past - changing, modernizing, and hopefully getting ready for some new history to be made.


Sandra said...

the only thing missing is orange shag carpeting, and it could be a replica of our old basement (minus the bottle var). Who remembers wax covered Mateus bottles from all the candles? *Hand up*

deirdre said...

uh huh, exactly right!

Kel said...

Oh my, that bar is classic...thank goodness you have the photos. Words could not do justice. Love it.

Vicki Knitorious said...

I am having a flashback of red shag carpeting on the floor AND ON THE WALLS of a childhood across-the-street neighbor's bar/rec room. YOWZA! That bar is AMAZING. And I'm glad you have plenty of photos.