My Grandma’s Milking Stool

It will be 10 years this November since my grandma passed away. I remember the day she asked me to come close and told me to go find something to keep. To remember her by.


She had lung cancer. Some days were good, some days were really bad. This was during a good time. I was seventeen, and my naïve brain didn’t want to accept the fact that one day, she wouldn’t be here.

I told her no and brushed off her request like she was being silly. But she looked at me sternly and asked me again. I knew better than to mess with her when she had that look in her eye. She knew. And I knew.

So, I went into the play room and picked her old milking stool. I showed her, and she smiled and nodded.


I have very fond memories of using this stool. Sharing a huge meal with my cousins at the kitchen table. Bringing it into the family room and watching America’s Funniest Home Videos every Sunday evening. Playing fortune teller (???) with a big, blue rubber ball illuminated by grandpa’s flashlight.

My grandma grew up on a farm in Indiana and I know she used this as a milking stool.

She moved to Chicago and later met my grandpa. I never got to ask her much about the piece, or maybe I did but forget, and of course now I wish I did.  It must have held some great memories for her if she lugged the clunky stool all the way to the city.


I’ve always known this stool to be brown. I added the turquoise as a teen and promptly stopped. I started to sand the top, and uncovered a layer or purple, and then white, and then wood. I decided not to do anything with it until I KNEW what I wanted to do with it.



I have no problem with painting wood. I often give my dad a hard time because he does. ;)

I originally thought I would give the stool some chalk paint love.

But the more I think about that option, the more if feels wrong. I know the history of this piece and I want to see it. This isn’t something I picked up at a garage sale. It is part of my history.


I want to uncover these deep layers. Get it down to the bare wood but leave some traces of paint behind. Sand it down and apply a matte glaze to seal it all in and keep it there.

Let the history and years of use (and love) shine through.


Do you have an old piece that you love?

A piece that tells a story and is a part of your history?


  1. YOur moma says

    I remember at one time it was purple in my moms room, with glitter added to the paint…..I too wish I knew the history of that stool, I always remember it in my childhood home in my moms room or the toy room. I tried asking grandpa about it, and he got all mad at me, why would I need to know….so sad to say, the history is gone. He said things like no I do not want it…..I don’t remember it, and my favorite, why did she go and get that, its ugly? I am sad to say….unless one of my siblings know….I do not know the history.

  2. says

    I have an old, wooden, rocking, duck that was my father-in-laws (Papa’s) when he was a toddler. I do not have it displayed right now, but we have in the past. I should ask him the history behind it before it is to late.

  3. Patsy says

    I love that you want to leave some traces of paint behind and then seal it. Those various colors tell a story in themselves.

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