The hall tree

I always wanted a hall tree, a specific place to hang the family’s coats, deposit their hats and gloves, ditch the damp umbrellas. I’d like to have had an antique one, one to match the age and demeanor of our home, but when we moved here 40 years ago, there was too much to do, so I settled for a new one, which, given the years which have passed, will be antique soon enough!

I’ve looked at hall trees in antique stores, but most of them have been too wide to fit in our narrow space. So our hall tree stands, half of the year empty save for the umbrellas. It has eight hooks, and with four of us in the family when the kids were home, we each had our own two. Now, with just the two of us we can spread out and layer and pile things one on top of the other and not even consider putting them where they might belong.

In spring though, the gloves and hats go back in their drawers and the coats hang once more in the closets. But as the weather changes and autumn happens again, I’ve watched the hall tree change. 

First, there was the lightweight jacket, perhaps even a long-sleeved shirt worn to keep the patio chill off when we stayed outside to enjoy the late September evenings. Then a sudden cold spell had us reach for the heavier outerwear and some very brisk mornings had me in my winter coat. It wasn’t just the temperature, it was the wind whistling through as we walked. 

Now, it’s warm again, but the coats and hats and gloves have, for the most part, come out of hiding. They may even be joined by heavier items as winter gets here. My hall tree is doing its duty, faithful that it is, standing there waiting to be ladened down. 

It’s a bit like the washing machine. In October, I found myself switching from whites and pastels and airy fabrics to darker tones and heavier items which took longer to dry. Maybe the washer and the hall tree communicate with each other and let each other know what is coming. I wonder if they wish for the relief of spring and summer 2021 just like we do.

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