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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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The Red Chair


The year was 2006. I desperately needed to retire from teaching to take care of my father full time as I was an only child. I selfishly could not care for him in a cold environment. My neighbors from NJ had a sister who lived in Wilmington, NC. I had visited her beforehand and fell madly in love with the area.

It was Easter vacation, and I spontaneously bought a house in a new upcoming development when I visited my friends here in North Carolina.

Being on a strict budget, I could only buy limited furniture on “layaway.” I purchased a new bed and mattress, a banana yellow leather sofa, and a palm tree red fabric chair. I resolved to move my Dad’s old blue chair from NJ to our new house and put it in his new bedroom for him.

I left one important fact out of this story. When I returned from the Easter break, I neglected to tell my Dad that I was moving him out of his home of fifty-three years to North Carolina with me.

Every Monday all through that spring, I would go into the faculty lounge, and my colleagues would ask,

“Did you tell your Dad you are moving him to North Carolina this summer?”

“No,” I said, “I’ll tell him next weekend when I make him a nice Italian Sunday dinner.”

This conversation continued for the next twelve weeks until the summer.

The jig was up. I had to give my Dad the news.

He did not take it well….

That’s when I had to use all my propaganda powers to convince him to go with me.

“Dad,” I said, “we will never be cold again. You will have your own room and your own bathroom in the new house. I’ll make you your favorite meal – hot dogs and beans.”

“You will?” said my Dad.

“Yes, of course, and we can watch the Wheel of Fortune every night. I secretly hated that show, but out of respect for my deceased mother, who was an avid fan of Vanna and Pat, I would watch it with Dad. My parents had watched it together almost every night since its inception in the 1970s.

“Well, maybe I’ll go,” Dad responded reluctantly.

“And Dad, I’ve purchased the most incredible red palm tree chair easy chair for you,” I added.

“Really,” Dad said, “well I’ll be darned.”

So we moved to North Carolina on a scorching July day with a caravan of cars from a few NJ friends. The temperature was 103 F at 3:00 am when we pulled into the misty driveway.

We made it safely there.

The next morning Dad settled into his new red chair. He seemed content and quickly settled into a nap.

Ten days later, as I ran an errand, he fell and broke his hip in our new home. He would need hip surgery, and he stayed in a rehab nursing home for the next 10 months here. He passed away in that center there the following June without ever sitting in his new red chair again.

I then “adopted” the chair as my own. The first year after Dad’s passing, I dutifully watched the “Wheel of Fortune;” then I switched to watching Jeopardy instead in the red chair. I didn’t think my parents would mind. In fact, I added a nightly glass of red wine to my routine TV chair watching ritual.

It helped me with the grief of missing my Dad as our “dream” plan only lasted a mere 10 days.

Since that time, Good Will picked up his old blue chair, and finally, just last week, Habitat for Humanity picked up the palm tree red chair. My deepest hope is that someone is enjoying that red chair, somewhere in a home in North Carolina, maybe watching “The Wheel of Fortune,” too….

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