The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

October 21, 2012

Old pieces connect us to the past

(Continued)

On my desk at work is an old kitchen knife that I use to open mail. It was made in the old C & EI Railroad Shops in Oaklawn when my Grandmother Cullen’s brother, Ferd Clifford, worked there in the 1930s. Every time I open letters, I can see “Mo” using it to slice potatoes, carrots, and rectangular pints of Sealtest ice cream.

In a drawer rests my Grandfather Dawless’ copy of “The Boy Scout Handbook.” He was scoutmaster of Troop 8 at Edison School for years; the kids called him “Chief.” When he died in 1959, my grandmother gave the handbook to me. Its pages are loose and the covers are barely hanging on, but it’s priceless.

Our dining room furniture always has consisted of a circa-1900 oak sideboard with a beveled mirror and the carved image of a frowning, bearded man, plus a five-legged oak table from the same period. They were the first pieces of furniture that Laurie and I bought when we were first married, 30 years ago. We added six oak chairs once used at the Soldiers Home.

Someday, I hope, one of the girls will say, “Dad, (or Mom) can I have the dining room set?”

Danville native Kevin Cullen is a former Commercial-News reporter. Reach him at irishhiker@aol.com.

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