Oct 22, 2018–“Oh my gosh! That’s my mother’s couch!”
Betty Anderson was flabbergasted, staring at the ornate green velour couch sitting on Gathered & Good’s front porch the first day we were open in Fredericksburg, Texas. We had to find out the story. It took a while, because the tale goes back to 1937 and involves an adopted child, the Texas oil business, and two world wars.
It turns out Betty’s parents, Doris and G.W. “Blackie” Wheeler, were prominent citizens in the Houston area the first part of the 20th century. Her father was one of the original successful Texas oilmen. He also served as a reconnaissance pilot in both WWI and WWII. He donated many of his memorabilia to the aviation museum in Galveston, including a photo of him at Malta inside a tent with General Eisenhower, Field Marshall Montgomery, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
In 1937, Doris purchased a new couch for entertaining company. It was part of a set, with matching chairs and coffee table. She had it recovered in the 1960s in the popular color of the times, which we’ll just call “avocado green.”
When Betty’s mom died, Betty received the living room furniture. She kept it until about five years ago, when she sold it at a resale shop in Kerrville, Texas.
There, Dawn Houseal purchased it to use in her former business, Sisters Vintage Party, a wedding and event rental company. It was used by bridal parties to add a vintage feel to their big day. Looking back, that limited use is the reason it remained in such good condition.
So when Dawn opened Gathered & Good, she decided to place it for sale as part of the inventory. It was sitting on the porch the day Betty Anderson, now a resident of Fredericksburg, stepped out of her car and saw it again for the first time.
That by itself would be an interesting tale. But there is more to the story…
One day 70-some years ago, Betty’s mom was sitting in the beauty parlor when she heard that a local woman decided to give up her 8-month-old son for adoption. When Doris heard the news, she ran out to tell her sister, who ended up adopting Tom Boyd. While growing up, Tom spent lots of time at his cousin Betty’s house, and the couch held special memories.
So when Betty mentioned to her family about finding the couch, cousin Tom decided he wanted to buy it back. Tom and his wife, Marilyn, were building a new home near Columbus, and thought it would be perfect. They even had the original chairs to pair it with.
So two weeks after Betty saw the couch, Tom and Marilyn drove over to Fredericksburg where we helped load up their once lost prize. The last we saw of them they were happily driving down Hwy 290, with the “green” velour couch strapped to a trailer sailing off to its new/old home.
All kinds of morals come to mind to wrap up this tale. But we prefer to think the story is not over, and that there will be many more memories spring up around that ornate family heirloom. We were happy to have played a part in a story that truly fits our name–Gathered & Good.