Following up on last week’s post about the Wegner Wishbone Story Winner, we thought we’d post the second and third place winners, as well. We’ll work on getting an English translation done for the third place entry.
Runner Up – Irene B, Denmark
“Next station is Skodsborg,” says the train conductor kindly to my mother, and the butterflies in my stomach are fluttering. This was a summer’s day of 1987. My parents have just been divorced, and my mother sings the refrain from Anne Linnet’s pop-rock tune with a crooked smile: “You are stuck in transverse – in my inner universe, universe universe..”
There is a scent of Lancome perfume and peonies in my grandmother’s house. There is art on the walls, planed floors, and a large, black grand piano in the living room behind French doors. The chair is placed by the grand piano. The Wishbone chair. We drove 50 km to pick up a couple of things to decorate our new home, and a chair which will follow us for the rest of our lives.
My new life as a child from a divorced family was not easy, and my world went topsy-turvy. From my room, I used to look at a beautiful, green lawn, now I was looking into empty air. But often I looked at the Wishbone chair, and dreamt back to the time before things went awry.
“Do not play with that chair,” my mother often said and diligently wiped off the Wishbone chair. The small flat was nicely decorated with used furniture and personal art deco. But the wrinkles in my mother’s face told the story of rainy days with heavy shopping bags on foot. Christmas eves without a Christmas tree and modest gifts. Men, who did not live up to expectations, but who she accepted to feel loved.
In the midst of the chaos, the Wishbone chair was a proof that once she had been another woman. A woman with the strength to smile back at the men she met and with a reserve of strength for her children. In the midst of the chaos, the Wishbone chair was the dream of a better life. The chair was the lighthouse which kept her life together. It reminded her of why she went 15 km by bike to a job that she did not like. It gave her strength and self-confidence.
One night the telephone rang, and I woke up and heard that my mother was crying. My grandmother was dying. My mother sat on the chair when I came down the stairs. “I have to go to Copenhagen, grandma is dying.” This was the day before I turned 18. My mother put on her make-up and ordered a taxi. When she kissed me goodbye, her scent was grandma’s. “We can sell the chair so that you can get a decent gift.” My mother was willing to sell the second-best thing for my sake, but I refused. The Wishbone chair was my last memory of my grandma. The Wishbone chair is now in my home. I got it as my 18-years’ birthday gift. The chair has followed me through towns, boy friends and long nights of studying at my desk when I went to university.
When my mother visits our lovely house with planed floors and French doors, she often says: “This is your chair. It is back in surroundings where it belongs.” When I take a deep breath, I can smell autumn, but I can also smell grandma.
3rd Place – Marianne K, Denmark
Y-stolen er det første møbel jeg kan huske fra min barndom.
Jeg husker den mest fordi min mor malede den i min yndlingsfarve, pink. Den stod ved vores spisebord sammen med 4 andre y-stole: en gul, en grøn, en blå og en rød. Jeg elskede at alle i familien havde hver deres stol i deres personlige yndlingsfarve.
Mit barndomshjem var – ligesom stolene – utrolig farverigt. Senere sleb mine forældre farven af, og stolene blev træfarvede igen. Dengang var jeg teenager. Jeg tror jeg syntes de var kedelige og måske endda grimme. Nu er jeg blevet ældre og har genfundet min kærlighed til stolen.
Heldigvis har mine forældre doneret min gamle elskede y-stol, som jeg selvfølgelig har malet pink igen. Men min stol mangler en kæreste, og min kæreste mangler en stol. Når vi bliver voksene og får børn (og kommer til penge), vil jeg købe en stol til hver af dem, og de må vælge hvilken farve deres stol skal have. Og forhåbentlig kommer stolen til at spille en ligeså positiv rolle i mine børns opvækst som den har gjort i min.