Off The Press
July 30, 2013
By Greg Farrar
Kings on their thrones should be so blessed
This little tale has a touching beginning and a sad middle, but a very happy ending and a hero at the finish, so I hope you’ll make it to the end.
There once was an old metal office chair, made in the 1930s, surplused from The Boeing Co. with a metal company serial number on it, which made its way at some point to The Issaquah Press. A number of people who loved this little community paper used it over the years, and it eventually was used by Myrtle Winslow, the newspaper accountant, for more than 20 years until she retired in 1989.
In 1996, 17 years ago this month, the paper hired a full-time photographer. That, by the way, was me! I was given a desk, but it didn’t have any particular chair. Between the several unused ones to choose from, was this old green metal antique that made a lot of creaky noises and had sort of fake cracked green leather upholstery on the seat, back and armrests.
It was a curmudgeonly character with a lot of history, and I wanted to add to that history. The Chair and I would become two peas in a pod!
And I met Myrtle and her husband Harold, who were both by then retired but still made a bit of pocket money by doing the janitorial service for the newspaper office. It was a great pleasure to have The Chair in common with Myrtle.
Over the years, several awesome photography interns — Kaylen Kinney, Justin Schmauser and Adam Eschbach — used The Chair and added to its storied life. It went right along with the transformation from black-and-white film to color digital cameras, and every time a new reporter arrived on the staff, The Chair gained another admirer.
The Chair was built like a tank. Other, newer plastic chairs came, broke and went in the newsroom with shocking frequency. All I needed to do was buy some spare wheels at a used office furniture store, and sometimes tighten the screws and bolts. It was impervious. Until two weeks ago, that is.
I was just sitting in The Chair typing, then rolled a little to the left. It suddenly, yet slowly like the Titanic, tilted and folded down as the caster mount broke off. The aluminum leg had just cracked right in two from fatigue. Unrepairable. If you ever wanted to see a whole newsroom suddenly feel bereft, that was the moment.
There was still work to do and we had a spare plastic chair in the storage closet. It was ok, padded nicely, covered in gray fabric, and quiet as a whisper. And that would be the end, except…
Last Friday morning when I came to work and walked through the loading dock, there was the plastic chair. I was confused. Then, I got to my desk, and could not believe my eyes. There was a vintage green metal chair, with green upholstery and green padded armrests! Not the exact model, but complete with the creak. My longtime coworker David Hayes had found a chair in Kirkland on the Internet and bought it.
Who would guess you could make a fellow the giddiest, happiest man on earth with a place to plant his rump for another 17 years!