I took my old shabby bookcase downstairs from the bathroom where it had been holding a few things like shower gel and a pot plant, to give it a nice new coat of paint to match my newly decorated walls. I turned it the other way up to start rubbing it down and painting it, and found the old pink paint was showing through the white gloss that had been covering it for years – probably around 40 years. And it got me reminiscing as I painted…
The bookcase as I remember it first was pink, to match the chest of drawers in my bedroom. Just before the bedroom was redecorated for the ‘first’ time, we had a French exchange student, I expect the exchange was for my eldest brother, and he had my room when he stayed. I don’t remember his name, but he carved his initials in my chest of drawers which put me off Frenchmen for life!
The bedroom then got redecorated to my favourite colours at the time, mauve, with soft grey and pastels shades of a really nice wallpaper with a pattern of ponies coming down a lane. My dad built a white-painted wardrobe and a set of bookshelves with a glass fronted shelf at the top, which went all along one wall under the window and ended in a vanity unit. I don’t remember what happened to the bookshelf at that stage but I suspect it was painted white or may have gone in the garage as it was. The glass fronted shelves held my collection of foreign dolls and my china horses, which I played with, and made saddles and tack and rugs for them out of meterail and felt, all hand sewn with their initials in the conrers of the rugs! I can’t remember what their names were now. I still have the dolls and horses in display cabinets now. The last version of the bedroom was a dark blue wallpaper wall with white daisy type flowers on it, and otherwise the walls were painted a nice lemon yellow and the woodwork stayed white. That was the 60s for you I suppose!
I don;t know what happened to the bookshelf until it arrived at my last house in 1985, I don’t think it followed me around the flats, even to my first owned flat – I can’t remember it there. But it did arrive at my first house and lived at the top of the stairs with books on it. And occasionally in a bedroom with books on it, often my original Winnie the Pooh books which I suspect were my brothers’ before they were mine!
And so it came here, very shabby and scratched white paint, starting in the garage with paint and stuff on it, then coming indoors to get bathroom stuff put on it. I think my dad probably made it, as it has that handmade look about it – neat and sturdy but not quite the perfect finish. But it must be 50 years old now, and it has a new lease of life. The paint job looks good, even if I do say so myself!