You know what a butler's chair is, right? The chair that used to sit at the door of a home and greeted the gentleman as he came in. It was a hanger for his coat, a tray for his wallet, keys, and pocket change, and it stored his shoes, hiding them underneath.
I found a butler's chair from the mid-century years at the thrift shop not too long ago. What I didn't realize was that the seat hinges open for storage, and I assumed it was for shoe polish and brushes and such to keep shoes shiny and professional for the suit that was paired with them.
When I carried the seat to the car, I noticed the hinges, and realized it opened, so I peeked inside and saw a few brushes and some shoe horns. No big deal...but maybe they would be fun to dig through. I enjoy old advertisement on merchandise and items like that. So I drove home and decided to dig later when William was there to enjoy too.
After dinner, we lifted the chair out of the back of the car and opened the seat. Yes, plenty of shoe horns and brushes and little tools...and then...
his jewelry box.
Yes. Jewelry box. The stain on the outside of the box was a rich patina and has some sort of emblem on it. We opened it up. It was full of jewelry. Tie tacks. Cuff links. Pins. Wedding ring. His wedding ring. Engraved on the inside with his initials and his bride's, and their wedding date. Masonic and Shriner pieces from years ago. Rings. The box was full. Of precious metals and stones.
At first it was shock, with all the gold and silver and gems, and then it was a story unfolding, of what his life was about, who he married, where he served, what he wore to work and what he used to keep his tie out of his lunch and his shirt sleeves neatly buttoned.
But, why did the family not look in the seat? Maybe they didn't know it opened either? And the chair was tossed aside so the house could be packed up and distributed among family or sold through an estate service? But wouldn't they be sentimental enough to want what they didn't know was there? Or did they know? I don't think so.
Should I try to find them, using what little information was in the jewelry box (initials and such) or should I return it to the store? Or should I keep it? Sell it?
I became a bit preoccupied with finding out about this man and his family that night. Searching online for bits and clues and hoping to find who I think might be him.
I found him.
What would you have done? I'll tell you the rest tomorrow. You won't believe what happened next.