The Chair

There are a few memories rattling around in my head from the time before I could talk: the sound of my mother’s voice reading to me, the smile on my grandmother’s face, the smell of my grandfather’s pipe, my panda. And, of course, The Chair.

side view of The Chair

The Chair

It wasn’t the only chair in the house, not even the only chair that ever was mine, but it was my first chair—the first one that belonged to me, and not to my family.

I remember the day I got it. Someone set this thing down on the floor, and there it was: a ME-sized chair! I must have been barely walking, because I remember falling at least once on my way across the room to investigate this. When I got there, the seat was at exactly the right height. I could get into it myself, without someone lifting me. My feet touched the floor, and the back felt good just below my shoulders.

It lived in the kitchen, mostly. I sat in it every morning after breakfast, as soon as I was liberated from the hated high chair (so confining!). I sat in it again, later in the day, to ‘read’ (turn pages and recite memorized stories) while my mother was cooking dinner in the evening. It was my perch. My throne. I pushed it around the floor and nobody yelled at me for making a mess, or told me to put it back where I found it.

When I got a little older, I discovered a wonderful thing.

side view of the chair as a step stool

The Step Stool

The back of The Chair flipped forward, and became a step! Just four inches high, half the height of the chair seat, it was the perfect height for my first mountain-climbing expedition. I made it up to the couch cushion all by myself.

The Chair followed me everywhere. I’d grab it by the flip step, and drag it from room to room. When we went to visit relatives, I’d cry if The Chair wasn’t in the car. When I learned to brush my own teeth—I was about three—it was The Chair that made it possible to do it all by myself. (It was also the perfect height to get me to the toilet seat, although I wasn’t thrilled about that, at the time.) When I got my very own bookshelf in my bedroom, it was The Chair that let me put favorite read-to-me books like Pinocchio and The House at Pooh Corner and The Little Engine That Could on the top shelf where the adults could find them easily (ordinary books went on the lower shelves).

My mother and I moved from Illinois to New York when I was seven. The Chair and Skokie, my stuffed horse, consoled me. Both went to college with me. They followed me to my first apartment, and to every house my husband and I have lived in, since.

The Chair is a little battered, now. Many newer wood and plastic chairs and step stools have splintered and bent, but The Chair still toils on, doing what it was built to do.

front view of The Chair

I love The Chair!

Give up The Chair? Never!

Photos by Kat Nagel. Larger versions can be viewed at: 

Want a chair like this for your child? Here are a few sources:

Step Stools For Kids
My Unique Wooden Toys
Wood That’s Fun
My Bambino
Baby Select
Sherwood Creations

About Kat

Cat lover, singer, early music addict, reads a lot. Former R&D chemist with an obsessive need for variety. Now active as a freelance technical writer and editor, web designer, photographer, computer coach, and trainer. Owner, MasterWork Consulting (
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6 Responses to The Chair

  1. Allison says:

    Just loved this little story! I think I’ll try to find a chair like this for my one year-old granddaughter for Christmas. Enjoying your blog as I work my way through December NaBloPoMo. Thanks!

    • Kat says:

      Thanks, Allison! Check the links at the bottom of the post, if you can’t find anything local. (No financial interest in those companies, just glad to see manufacturers are getting back to supplying wonderful products.)

  2. Kriz says:

    I think you should use more images on your blog, but besides that, it is really great. Cheers.

    • Kat says:

      Thanks, Kriz. I’ll be using images in most posts this month since, in addition to the NaBloPoMo challenge, I’m participating in a photo challenge.

  3. What a wonderful chair. It looks so sturdy… they don’t make things that well anymore. I can understand why you won’t part with it. Thanks for adding links on where to find a similar chair.

    p.s. I can’t believe you have such vivid memories from your childhood. I think my earliest memory is when I was 5, nothing before that. But then, I have the worst memory now too 😉

    • Kat says:

      It is certainly sturdy, Nadia! I have at least a half dozen really clear memories from before I started school—single snapshot scenes, complete with smells/sounds/touch sensations—real memories, not back-filled from photographs, since no photos were taken. Three of those are from before I could talk:

      1. standing in my crib, gripping the railing, and looking up at my panda (who was taller than I was)
      2. being on someone’s lap, someone with flowery perfume, while my mother read to me
      3. The Chair

      Those memories are far clearer than some recent events.

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