From a Bored Panda story on odd finds…
“Buckle up, friends – because this is a story that even I have yet to fully comprehend.
Today I was scrolling through Facebook Marketplace, because what else does one do when bored during a pandemic? As I was scrolling, I saw the following listing:
‘Judy Garland Director Chair, Meet Me in St. Louis Film Premiere.’
I literally gasped out loud but was a little skeptical…especially since the chair was listed with an asking price of $35.
I reached out to the seller and let them know of my enthusiasm for Judy Garland. I asked the seller if the chair was legitimate, and this was the message I received:
‘Yes, this director’s chair was made for the premiere of Meet Me in St. Louis, which was held on November 22nd, 1944 at the Loew’s State Theater on Washington Avenue.”
That was all it took – I asked for their address and how soon I could pick up the chair.
When I arrived at the seller’s house, Pam (the seller) met me on the front porch, handed me a photo of the man who originally owned the chair, and began to share his life with me. His name was Bob and he taught German and Theatre in St. Louis city and county schools for several decades. Bob didn’t have an ounce of German in him, but he took a trip to Germany one summer and fell in love with the culture – so he majored in German and minored in Theatre. Bob never missed out on flying to Germany to attend Oktoberfest to celebrate and meet up with his native friends. When Bob wasn’t teaching, he was working backstage at local St. Louis theaters as a stagehand.
In the spring of 1983, the beloved Loew’s State Theatre, with its polished brass balcony and gold leaf ceilings, was slated for demolition. Tucked away in the old theatre were the director’s chairs that had been used by the main cast members of Meet Me in St. Louis at the 1944 premiere. Although the ornate theatre fell victim to a wrecking ball, the director’s chairs were saved. Bob learned of this incredible rescue and he, being an avid Garland fan, purchased Garland’s chair. The chair was made by “Gold Medal” Fold Furniture Co. Judy’s name was painted onto the chair.
From the sound of it, Bob lived a fabulous life filled with countless adventures. A little over a year ago, Bob’s health began to fail. He didn’t have any local family, so it was time for him to purge his memories and move closer to family.
Pam helped Bob clean out his apartment that was full of nearly 86 years of life. It sounded like quite the undertaking, and as a ”thank you”, Bob gave this chair to Pam.
After a life of adventure, Bob passed away at the age of 86 on December 24, 2019.
As Pam was sharing the fabulous life of her dear friend with me, her eyes became misty and she said
‘I love this chair, but I have no room for it. I have many momentoes of Bob’s that I cherish, and I hate to part with this chair, but it does my heart good to know that it’s going to a loving home – Bob would be pleased.’
There was much I wanted to say, I knew I couldn’t say it without getting too emotional – so I just thanked her and handed her the $35. As I was loading the chair into my car, she handed me a photo of Bob and said
‘I think you should have this.’
My heart melted. In the photo, Bob is pictured on the left during one of his visits to Amsterdam. He’s pictured with one of his good friends that he met in Germany. (see top)
Here’s to Bob and Pam and here’s to the excitement that comes from sharing memories”
(via Bored Panda)