When Goode meets Day
Published 9:32 am Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Sarah E. Goode is sitting at the counter of her furniture business she shares with her husband Archie in Chicago, Illinois. She is reading the local newspaper when she comes across the tribute section.
“My goodness,” she says. Archie replies, “What’s wrong dear?” Sarah responds, “It’s Thomas Day, the furniture maker. There’s a tribute to him in here.”
Archie tells her that he knows that she admired his work. Sarah talks about how he came from humble beginnings in Virginia and North Carolina, becoming the master craftsman known the world over.
“Master of Mahogany,” Sarah says aloud. She begins to daydream. “If only I had been born 20 or 40 years earlier, I could have met Mr. Day and told him, ‘I admired his work.’ I would have asked him, ‘Mr. Day, why do you choose mahogany as your wood of choice?’ ‘Can I take a tour of your shop?’”
His response would have been, “Sure child.” Mr. Day would have told me that he had heard of my father Oliver’s furniture business.
I would have asked him why owned slaves. Sarah tells Archie, “He was a free black, Archie, and I know what it’s like to be in shackles. I’m not judging him, but I would have freed them.”
Thomas Day doesn’t answer me about that and we continue our discussion about woodworking.
Archie remembers and says, “You know, honey, his son Thomas Jr. still runs the business at Union Tavern. We could take a trip there. Besides, we’ve already wanted to visit Milton, North Carolina — so much history.”
Sarah smiles and nods in agreement. “You’re right, my darling, let’s do it.” “I could talk to him,” Sarah thinks to herself.
So they make the trip to Milton and while riding on the train, Sarah imagines what it would feel like to walk in the footsteps of history. She has made her own path in respect. “You thinking about asking him about the slaves?” Archie asks. “You read my mind,” Sarah answers.
After a while, the Goodes arrive in Milton and head to Union Tavern. Once they get there, Sarah and Archie meet Thomas Day Jr. They exchange pleasantries.
Thomas Jr. tells Sarah that he is glad that she’s an admirer of his father’s work. Sarah states as a fellow crafter and business owner, she is always looking for new ways to improve her product. Thomas Jr. informs her that he has been following the press about her folding cabinet bed/roll top desk and how helpful her invention is to people who don’t have room for a lot of furniture in their homes.
“I know what you want to ask about though,” Thomas Jr. states. Sarah looks at him with surprise. “You have great intuition,” replies Sarah. They continue their conversation.
What did they come up with as a conclusion to that question? You can decide that. Just a little something to think about.
The Central High Museum thanks all for their support. Come by on the first and third Saturdays from noon-2 p.m. Numerous items have been donated in the last year. For more information, visit www.charlotteva.com.
Judy Moore is a tour guide and liaison at The Central High Museum. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.