Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

POSTscripts: The Traveling Chandelier

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There is a book about some Traveling Pants.  This is a column about a Traveling Chandelier!  My family moved to Lebanon around 1940.  Daddy had a house built for us on Castle Heights Avenue.  In the formal dining room, hanging over the big cherry table was a chandelier.  It was shaped like an inverted pyramid with five brass rings in descending sizes, each filled with slender crystal prisms with pointed ends.  At the bottom was a crystal ball about the size of a golf ball.

It hung there for over twenty years.  Then my Daddy decided he wanted a new house and he built it in a brand new subdivision – West End Heights.  The chandelier was removed before the old house was put up for sale and subsequently traveled a few blocks west to preside in a new dining room shining over the same cherry table.

Maybe the chandelier thought that would be its only trip but that was not to be.   Daddy died and in a few years Mother remarried.  She eventually moved to Florida so the house was put up for sale.  Again the chandelier was removed.  It was boxed up and stored for a time.  They lived in a condominium but Mother had never experienced apartment dwelling before, being a small town girl used to space in and around a house.  So they built a house and moved.

And once again the chandelier took pride of place in a formal dining room over the cherry table that had become its traveling companion!  This setting was different as the floor was slate and the back wall was glass and the view was of a large terrace area and a swimming pool.  The weather was different too, and the chandelier began to change a bit in appearance.  But it hung on (or up!) for another 20 years or so until my Mother became ill and we had to move her back to Tennessee so she would be near us.

The chandelier once again was boxed up carefully and shipped back to Tennessee.  I took it to my home and parked it in a large closet.  It had seen better days.  The brass was beginning to look bad due to the hot and humid Florida climate and the wiring looked a bit ratty.  A couple of the prisms were gone – probably broken due to washings and cleanings that had taken place over the past 60 years.  So there it sat. 

Then one day in the Tennessean I read an article about a lady in Hendersonville who restored chandeliers.  I perked up and read more carefully. It was a nice article and detailed what she could do for an old chandelier.  She would take it all apart, redo/replace all of the brass parts, rewire it and replace lost or broken prisms.

I emailed her and told her about my chandelier.  She wanted a photo so she could get an idea of the work needed.   I dragged out the box and managed to get the chandelier in a position to take a couple of photos.  And here is the part I am really proud of.  I was actually able to send them to her on the internet!!!  I am so technically challenged I was completely surprised.

She emailed back and told me what it would cost.  And believe me there is no way you could purchase such a beautiful fixture for that price.  So I loaded us up and went to Hendersonville. When I returned to pick it up, I was quite pleased and happy with it.  It looked just like it did in 1940 when I first saw it on Castle Heights Avenue.  All its brass was shining and clean.  The wiring was safe again.  And all the prisms were present and sparkling brightly.  I loved it.

The chandelier is hanging in my bedroom.  Its long time companion the cherry table is in someone else’s house now but it is just as beautiful with my cherry bed.  When it is turned on in the dark, it throws beautiful patterns of light across the ceiling and the prisms twinkle.  I hope it is content to be back on display and performing its assigned task of lighting a room.  I wonder if it will ever travel again.  If some other family member will enjoy its light...and its memories.  Only time will tell.

Margaret Partee can be reached at

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