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I was in the attic the other day digging for some old LPs when I happened across my grandmother’s piano bench. It’s been in storage for years and only this week I found a use for it. The cats love to sit in the foyer windows sunning themselves and keeping watchful eyes on any possible interlopers that might be in the neighborhood. They had been using my other grandmother’s sewing machine bench, but by upgrading to the piano bench, I was able to accommodate both cats at once–double the security.

I’ve always wondered what was underneath the obviously old fabric on the bench. Today I would find out. After my daughter’s basketball game, the three of us hit a local fabric store looking for something with which to reupholster the bench. My wife and I were able to come to agreement on a fabric that cost us all of $2.

After removing the fabric added by my aunt (who no doubt considered it “sensible”), I discovered a wild vinyl fabric. I’m sure it was chic in its day. In retrospect, it’s not altogether different than what we ultimately chose. sigh At any rate, once I removed that layer, my deepest fears were discovered–it was a beautiful quarter-sawn oak top. I so desperately didn’t want to cover it up, but our cats would destroy any finish I might restore, so on the fabric went. Someday, in about twenty years when the cats are gone, I will rip off the then hideous fabric and strip it.

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