My most valued possession is a small, black rocking chair, clad with a thick set of velvet cushions that were hand-sewn in the late 1950's. The chair was a fixture in my grandmother's living room, and I loved to rock in it when I was a young child. At first, my parents would have to lift me into the chair, as my tiny legs were not long enough to reach the floor. In young adulthood, I would drag the chair onto my grandmother's large wrap-around porch, rocking in it as I threw peanuts to the seagulls and quietly inhaled the salty ocean breeze.
I went away to college and only visited my grandmother sporadically, always seeking my favorite rocking chair. By this time, however, the chair was in her bedroom, where she often slept after her grueling chemotherapy treatments. Some days she never even awakened during my visits, and the only sound in her quiet room was the creaking of the old black rocker.
When my grandmother died last year, her three children efficiently sold her house and divided her possessions. The rambling old Victorian was filled with priceless antiques and furniture from the 1700's. My aunts meticulously detailed who took which items, quietly determined to keep the financial disbursement as equitable as possible. My only request seemed odd in its simplicity. I didn't want the Tiffany lamps, the original artwork or the priceless china and crystal. I wanted the one piece that would always remind me of my grandmother and the magic of her home: her small, black rocking chair, clad with the hand-sewn velvet cushions. It now sits in my living room, a lovely reminder of the woman who played such a kind, supportive role in my childhood and adolescence.