Since none of the children or grandchildren live near her home in West Virginia, the house that she has lived in since the 1940's has recently been sold and the many items of antique furniture either divided up or sold.
Before we left West Virginia after her funeral, my husband loaded up one of those antiques, an old Cavalier Cedar Chest that his grandfather had purchased for his grandmother after he returned home from World War II. For some reason they even kept the banner inside showing where it was purchased. I don't plan to remove it either. It is part of it's history.
This cedar chest had been pushed to a corner of the basement, has gotten water damaged over the years, and probably had 20 years of dust on top of it. But my husband wanted it for the connection to his grandfather who was a War Veteran like himself, so we brought it home.
For the last couple of months we have had to leave it in our sun room because it reeked of moth balls. It could take your breath away. I finally cleaned out what appeared to be a old blanket and towel out of it and that has helped to get rid of the odor.
As you can see though, the finish on this chest has seen better days. Now I'm a big fan of painted furniture, but not all the time. I can't imagine covering up the unique finish and details of such a cherished piece.
Instead I gave the exterior a good cleaning with Murphy's Oil Soap and allowed that to dry. I then used Murphy's Scratch Guard oil in a dark finish to refresh the wood and to cover up some of the damage to the lower area. Just after one coat the piece looks so much better and you can appreciate the wood grains and textures of the chest.
Obviously this chest was in need of some TLC so after the oil treatment soaks in for a few weeks I may - or may not - reapply a gel stain. I'm thinking not. The history of this chest needs to be shown and appreciated, so it will be displayed in my home, scratches and all, for a long time.