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Before I could move out of our brownstone,  I needed to pack up my belongings and make some difficult decisions.  I was moving out of a 4-story Brooklyn brownstone into a 2 bedroom apartment in Manhattan, which was less than half the size of the house.

Among the pieces of furniture that wouldn’t fit was our beloved kitchen table.  It was a rectangular light-colored wood table that could comfortably seat 4.  It was plain and undistinguished but very much the epicenter of the house.   It was the place where we ate all meals, celebrated family birthdays, discussed and planned family trips, opened the mail, drank countless cups of coffee, occasionally had help with homework, read the newspaper, reckoned with bad news,  the list goes on and on.

A few days before my move, the moving company sent a team of workers to disassemble furniture that would be packed and stored in a warehouse while my apartment was being renovated, donated or trashed.  The kitchen table would be trashed, after being rejected for a donation to a local charity.  But to to reduce the cost for the trash pick-up, it would need to be dismembered, and its legs removed.

In truth, it was just a piece of furniture, but it had seen so much action, had been part of so much family history that watching it come apart became a poignant symbol for me of the end of an era of us as a family of 4.