New use for an old footstool kicks bad memories down drain

July 20, 2012|Amy Dulebohn

When I was a young teenager in a 4-H club, I made a little footstool with a knitted square pattern on it. I’m so not crafty that I can’t even describe the design properly. I really didn’t even make it. One of my fellow 4-H’ers pretty much knitted the top for me.

It looks great, but the fact that I had little to do with it has always kind of made me cringe. So, aside from the fact that I’m a packrat, I don’t know why I kept it for so many years. It’s not sturdy enough for me to stand on, and because it evoked unpleasant memories, I never cared to display it at home.

After collecting dust for about 20 years, I found what I thought was a temporary use for it: I took it to work during the final weeks of my pregnancy to prop my tired, swollen feet. The stool provided some relief, and the fact that it stayed hidden under my desk made it all the better.

Then, as it has a tendency to do, life happened. My baby was born, I had maternity leave, I returned to work. Somehow the stool remained under my desk. In becoming a working single parent, well, that’s enough said. Dragging the stool from the office to my car and into the house and finding a place for it with a baby in tow simply wasn’t a priority.

I continued to embrace having the stool under my desk. Some two years after I had given birth, I occasionally found myself propping my feet up on a late afternoon. I felt a little bit lazy, yes, but hey, if the stool fits, why not use it?

In late May our office began undergoing a major renovation. A mandate was issued saying that employees had to remove all personal items from the premises prior to the installation of some much-needed new carpet. I complied, and along with a few boxes of assorted memorabilia from nearly a decade at the same desk, I carried my footstool home with me. I considered bringing it back once the renovations were complete, but doing so at this point just didn’t seem like a good idea.

I envisioned the stool sitting at home and collecting dust for another 20 years, or at least until I had the time or motivation to get rid of it.

Somehow, though, my daughter got a hold of the stool and started to use it as a stand to reach the sink to brush her teeth all by herself. Because she loves to be independent, a mechanism to give her another few inches to get to the sink is a thrill for her. 

I am happy that she is happy with managing small tasks on her own, and proud that she was able to figure out a method to do so on her own.

At the same time, the little stool that won’t go away reminds me of some things. The last thing I want for my daughter is for her to be a quitter, or, to not do her own work. I don’t blame anyone for my not doing the knitting on the stool nor have I ever have been proud of that fact. Seeing the footstool every day in front of the sink can serve of a reminder of this to me.

Hopefully I will raise a daughter who can flash a pearly smile with pride as she revels in success that she achieves on her own and as part of a team.

Amy Dulebohn is a page designer and feature writer at The Herald-Mail. Her email address is

The Herald-Mail Articles