Somewhere in northeast Albuquerque, a seat cushion of rocking chair sits in a hot garage. Okay, there's nothing too exciting about that, but this isn't just any seat cushion, or why would I be writing about it? If you saw the chair that it once belonged to at the flea market, you'd probably pass it by--with its maroon naugahyde exterior, cat scratches and weird-colored wood. The springs on her weren't what they once were, but hey...she was an old girl. The bounce back factor was a little loose, if you know what I mean. Otherwise she was still in pretty good shape, but had been relegated to the I'm-a-poor-student-and-can't-afford-really-nice-furniture-and-if-someone-broke-into-my-home-and-stole-it-no-big-deal group. That's how my son got her and under duress (my suspicions), she broke. The main part of her went to the dumpster but her seat cushion was saved for posterity. Or should that be posteriority?
The chair used to belong to my mom's next door neighbor who, in an act of kindness-or maybe it was a chance to get rid of some clutter-gave her to me as a present. What the hell...I was about to get married and that chair and a section of a sectional sofa were the only furniture we would have besides a waterbed and some concrete block shelves. I kept her around, moved her to Louisiana, rocked my son in her when he was a baby and then gave her to my son when he rented his first apartment. He told me she broke because she was old, but I have my doubts. I mean, he is a young adult and it was his first year of college and...need I say more?
My mom's next door neighbor was Paul Henson and the passage of chair ownership took place in the late seventies. Who was Paul Henson? Father of Jim Henson of Muppet fame. Yes, Albuquerque played host more than a few times to Jim Henson and probably never knew it.
Mr. Henson and his wife Bobbie lived next door to my mom in a very modest Northeast Heights neighborhood. I can't recall the exact timeline, but they might have already moved to North Carolina before Jim's death and after several years of living there, my mom lost contact with them. Mr. Henson passed the chair along to me and said that Jim used to be rocked to sleep in it when he was a baby. At that time, I thought, "Well, okay," not being overly impressed or anything. He and Bobbie also gave me an exquisite teapot as a wedding present, probably to raise my level of enthusiasm.
Jim would come to visit his dad every so often and bring his family. He was a really nice guy, in my brief interactions with him. What a loss.