’Round Town


Wed, 02/06/2019 - 7:00am

In elementary school classrooms, we used wooden chairs that were fastened to the floor. On the back metal frame of the seat, a simple flat wooden board created the desktop for the next seat behind. The desk top had a small channel for pencils at the top and a hole for an ink well. In sixth grade we received penmanship instructions every day using a fountain pen. The “Palmer” method, as I recall. Otherwise known by me as “round-round ready write” madness!

Our seats were in place for years. Who knows how long! They were worn and scuffed, scratched and chipped. The seats were hard and uncomfortable.

Skiff seats in above photo reminded me of our school desks. To what boat had these seats carried cargo and for how long? I imagined the seas and storms and snows and rains the seats may have seen. Not to mention if beans and franks and accompanying beers had added character to the finish.

It’s an odd interest I'd guess, seat study. But it is a curiosity of mine, nonetheless. There are stories there, captured in the history of how a seat has worn. What wood was used? How many coats of paint? When was a seat made and by whom? Was it passed on through generations? Is it original? Had families grown up on these seats, paddling to and from the shore, or dock or boat?

The desks we used in grade school never left the classroom, yet every year a new back side was assigned and new history added to the surface. Without the wear of weather, however, there was less erosion of the school seat but more people to accommodate. The grade school seats were made of harder wood, oak perhaps, or maybe maple. They had less character.

I like boat seats better.