But, for the better part of the past 20-plus years, it was at the center of my digital world. It wasn’t a particularly handsome chair, with its odd burgundy-colored cloth upholstery, but I found it a comfortable place to park myself while I pecked away at a keyboard.
I don’t remember where or exactly when I bought it, but it must have been around the time I bought my first “real” computer, an IBM PC with an optional 20-megabyte hard drive, in the late 1980s. It was on this computer that I wrote my book, “The Day the Music Died.” In those pre-Windows and pre-Internet days, the computer was relegated to the basement where I was afforded the solace of a quiet area that was well-suited to conducting phone interviews and writing.
It was around that time that I bought the computer desk and hutch that I still use today. I suspect the chair arrived at the same time.
Over the years, the IBM was replaced by a succession of computers – Compaq, Gateway, Dell and Apple – and the basement office was relocated to what had been the domain of our family’s then-budding astrophysicist for many years. Although the computer desk made the move, the old burgundy chair was replaced by a sleek leather job.
In recent months, however, the burgundy chair was reunited with one of the older computers as a makeshift recording studio was created in the basement for the purpose of digitizing music from records and cassettes. This arrangement was humming along quite smoothly until earlier this week when a bracket snapped, transforming the chair from a comfortably functional piece of furniture to an uncontrollable flopping monstrosity.
My first reaction, of course, was to replace it. A suitable replacement could likely be found for under $100, a reasonable sum. But, since I am in downsizing mode, I backed off that initial reaction, realizing that a replacement chair could be a complication if we were to move where a basement studio is impractical or even impossible.
Instead, I moved a dining room chair that had been sitting unused in a guest bedroom into the basement, stacked some towels and a cushion on the seat, and went back to work on the digitization project. It’s not as comfortable, certainly, but is adequate for the job.
Linda thinks I should just get a comfortable replacement but so far I’m sticking by my decision. Unless I’m persuaded otherwise by strain or pain, I can revel in the fact that I’ve successfully eliminated a sizable piece of furniture from the household inventory.
Larry Lehmer is a personal historian and chief legacy planner at When Words Matter in Urbandale, Iowa, where he connects generations through their stories. To learn more, visit his web site, send him an e-mail or follow him on Twitter.