Monthly Archives: July 2008

A Quick Pick-Me-Up

Times are so tough; so I thought you could all use a quick pick-me-up. (I’m trying to be clever, so work with me.) I recently received this email from His Grace Ralph Quick, Duke of Windsor. In it, His Grace recounts some very upbeat events that have occurred recently in his life. They should give you a boost. Caron is Ralph’s wife and partner in their chairmaking business. Their dog’s name is Windsor.   

 “Greetings King Mike, 

“A few weeks ago Caron got a phone call from a lady.  The lady told her not to hang up because this was not a prank call. She said she needed 20 Windsor chairs for a movie that was being filmed in Kansas City, and she needed them fast. She said she was not worried about the price. She had checked out our web site and saw that our chairs were reasonably priced.  

“We did not have that many chairs in stock but we did tell her we could get them. We had just completed several chairs for a couple of customers. We told them about the phone call and asked if we could take their chairs to Kansas City as props for a movie.  They agreed to let us use their chairs, but only if we delivered them personally and watched over them to be sure they were not damaged.  

“Caron told the movie lady what our customers requested. The lady said she was happy to have us deliver them. She added that we would be reimbursed for the delivery and for our gas.  We would also be reimbursed for our room and meals at the Fairfield Marriott while the chairs were being used to film the movie. 

“The movie’s title is “We The People.” It will be finished in approx. 6 to 8 months. Then, it will be previewed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington at their IMAX Theater. From there it will go to Williamsburg, and then to Mt. Vernon. After that, it will be shown at all the IMAX Theaters across the country. The movie people said that in about two years, it will be presented on HBO and the History Channel. After that, it will be shown in schools across the country as part of their of history classes.

 “When I saw our chairs in the monitor I realized just what Caron and I are contributing to history. It is really hard to explain. I have seen lots of our chairs together here in the shop, and at shows. However, they never hit me as it did when I saw them on the monitor. It was as if our chairs really were at Independence Hall in 1776 ready for the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  

“All the actors commented just how comfortable the chairs were. We even took several orders for them. The Director, Aimee Larrabee ordered a left handed Writing Arm because I could not sell her the one we had brought with us. Even though it was not used during the filming, she really liked the writing arm and wanted one for herself.  

“The sack back Caron made during her first class in 2003 was in the first scene. Once the shooting was done I had all the key people sign the bottom of it for her. She is really “jazzed” about it that. Her first chair was used in a movie and is autographed by all the actors.  

“As an aside, my first chair was signed by Roy Underhill a couple of years ago while at the Endview Plantation event in Virginia. That was when we got a photo of him along with Fred, Caron and me. I have no idea as to why I asked him to sign the bottom of my chair but if someone wants to buy it, it would cost a gazillion dollars. Ha! Ha!  

“Back to the movie. They said that the credits will read, “The Windsor Chair Shop of Clarksville, Missouri” since the  guy in Lancaster, PA. also uses the name “Windsor Chair Shop”. We have had a lot of people tell us that they had contacted him by mistake, and that he does not bother to tell them that he really is not the one they were looking for. We even met him at a show in Virginia last May, but he would not talk to, or even acknowledge us when we introduced ourselves. He just said, “Yea, I know who you are” and went on about his business. I know he and I were probably married in a past life, and I bet we didn’t like one another then either. Ha! Ha!   

“For some reason the director really took a liking to Caron. She was asked to do a walk on part in the movie. They wanted me to be in the part with her, but my beard caused trouble. It is not authentic. The director told the make up department to do what they had to in order the make my beard disappear. They pulled and twisted my beard so hard and tight that I could feel the hair on my toes being pulled upwards. However, you can’t tell I have a beard. So, in the movie Caron and I are the “Older Colonists” listed in the credits. Our scene occurs when the Town Crier is announcing the news about America breaking away from British rule. The younger colonists are happy and cheering. Being older and having always lived under British rule, Caron and I think independence is a bad idea. We disagree wonderfully, I might add. Ha! Ha!  

“We almost did not go to Kansas City for the movie as that is when all the flooding started here. Several friends of ours, who are also fellow artisans, persuaded us to go. They promised they would keep an eye on everything for us. Caron was quite upset when we returned. The town (Clarksville, MO) had experienced a lot of damage. It was, and still is quite a mess here. It will be some time before it recovers fully. However, everyone here is pulling together and we owe a lot to the people who watched our place while we were gone. 

“The other good news on our front is that of Early American Life magazine is preparing an article about the Connecticut Writing Arm for the October issue. They chose four chairmakers to interview. We were the top choice for the editor writing the article. Caron put together some pretty good text to help him out. So, we can’t wait to see that issue. 

“While in Virginia, EAL used our settee and our sack back for a shot. They took some pictures of a couple of the re-enactors sitting in them in a garden area. I forgot to ask what issue those will be in, but you can bet we’ll send you guys a copy when it comes out.  

“Well, I guess I better finish up here and get back outside to the carriage house. Caron is finishing a settee right now. She doesn’t like me doing any sawing or cutting while she is painting chairs. It doesn’t take her long to paint them, so I know she’ll have something for me to do when I get back out there. These past few days have been really nice and we are finally getting caught up on our schedule.  

“Tell everyone at The Institute we said hello and we that can’t wait to see them all again in April. 

“Take Care,Ralph, Caron & Windsor” 

Now, doesn’t that put a smile on your face? Can you imagine your business appearing in movie credits? Every time that movie is played it will be an advertisement for His Grace and Caron.   It couldn’t happen to better people.  

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