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This table came to our family by way of the side of the road in North Plainfield, New Jersey, where we lived from 2002 to 2008.
We carried it a block or so to our home — a second floor apartment in a Victorian house — and I painted over the peeling finish on the tabletop with red oil-based paint.
We used it as our kitchen table, extending its two leaves on their squeaky, ingenious steel bracket-and-spring contraptions when we needed room for big school or art or baking projects or for company coming over for dinner.
After we moved to State College in 2008, we used it for awhile, and then we got another dinner table, and this one moved around as a desk, and then to the basement to serve as a workbench. We drilled four holes in it to attach a vise.
Eventually, it ended up in a corner of the basement, piled with boxes of old junk. Then for a few months in early 2017, it went to the Meetinghouse on Atherton, where I briefly rented office space during the early days of KW Investigations. My husband built a shelving unit to sit on top of it, for books and binders and office supplies, fitted with cupboard doors.
I painted the exposed half of the tabletop a dark brown to match the shelves.
Then it went back to the basement corner, waiting as our children became teenagers and then young adults and the first one flapped his way out of the family nest this fall, to his own nest, leaving an empty room.
A few weeks ago, we dragged the table out of the basement and into the patio and I began stripping off the old brown latex paint, and the old red oil paint, and the old varnish. Then my husband sanded off the last few bits, and I put on a few layers of boiled linseed oil.
Oak? Maple? We don’t know. It’s just beautiful to look at.