My Uncle Travis made and engraved this wooden stool as a gift for my second birthday. He died in Vietnam two months before my third birthday. As a little girl, I set it across my knees and used it as a lunch table while I watched cartoons, but I also found its great versatility as a stage for my Barbies’ performances and a step stool to reach high places like kitchen cabinets and bathroom mirror.
Over the years, the grooves of the lettering softened, and the stool’s utility expanded to serve as a small bookshelf, a lunch table for my own kids to fight over, and a thing to tuck away, out of sight. It had aged to the point of being a fragile memorial best kept under a bed or on a high shelf in a closet. In recent years, I determined a memorial is best seen and shared, not preserved between old quilts and forgotten cardboard boxes. This sturdy little thing now resides in my home office, and some days, it finds its way under my desk, where I put it to work as a footstool.
”A memorial is best seen and shared, not preserved between old quilts and forgotten cardboard boxes.Amy Cates