The Silent Witness


From “A New Library of Poetry and Song,” by William Cullen Bryant, The Baker Taylor Co., 1903

“Young people are often amazed at the tenacity with which older folk cling to their old furniture. They will take it with them from one house to another; usually to smaller houses, to bungalows or to a room ·or two as the family grows up and goes away and old age and infirmity increases. With each move the furniture grows more unsuited to its surroundings, too big and clumsy by far, and the young people think how odd to prefer these things to the modern stuff so much more suited to their surroundings. Then the young ones go off, themselves acquire homes and start along the same well-worn path. And the old folk, left alone with the familiar things, find something in them far more precious than anyone could know; memories of children and friends, of old joys and sorrows, every line and scar with a story behind it, every fine polished surface the record of their own youthful vigour. For Time, the artist, is at work again, and this is perhaps his last, best gift to them.”

— Charles Hayward, The Woodworker magazine, 1936

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5 Responses to The Silent Witness

  1. Rick Wilson says:



  2. bloksav says:

    Very well written.


  3. nrhiller says:

    Lovely–the words and illustration both.


  4. Bill Beardsley says:

    Here, here! Well said.


  5. matthewbosnick says:

    ‘Time, the artist…’

    And that is why so many of us–young people included–have chosen to build our own furniture. We want something to pass on to our own families after we’re gone, after it’s been present for countless meals and gatherings and has become part of our history. Time gives the furniture clues and markings that tell the story. We want furniture that connects us to our past and our future.


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