CATAWBA -- The chair is gone, but nobody stole the chair. Nobody filched the chair. There were even good intentions when somebody sold the chair to another somebody that a family wants desperately to find.
And it isn't really even a chair. The chair is more a little loveseat.
But Mary Elizabeth Cherry, who claimed Tuesday she is 96 years old until she said, "I was born June the 28th, 19 and 10 -- so I guess that makes me 97," added, "I just love to sit in that chair. I hope to again."
A chair it is. The chair.
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The chair is wooden, with a flowered cushion on it.
I asked Mary Cherry how long she had that chair and she said, "Lord, a long time. It is a hard-bound chair. Sits up high, so as I can get out of it easy."
The chair first belonged to Mary Cherry's grandmother, said Edna Cherry, one of Mary Cherry's daughters.
"My mother is 97 years old, so the chair is a hundred years old, at least," said Edna Cherry, distraught over the chair, too.
The chair is no longer in the old Cherry house on Sam Walker Road, or even in the spot that Edna cleared in her house on nearby Rowells Road, where she lives and her mother lives with her.
"A mix-up is all this is," said Mary Cherry. "Nobody's fault. But I sure hope it clears up."
On Saturday, the family was cleaning out the Sam Walker Road house to get it ready to rent out, said Keisha Adams, one of many grandchildren.
As happens during those clean-up and sort-out kind of days, the chair didn't go into the "keep" stack to go to Edna's house, but somehow ended up in the "go" pile that was sent to the Goodwill store in Rock Hill.
By Sunday night, Edna sat bolt upright in the bed.
"It was like I missed that chair in my sleep," she said.
Frantic calls to the Goodwill on Monday found that somebody liked the chair as much as Mary Cherry did. The chair was inspected, tagged and sold before the doors closed Saturday.
"Of course, we would pay to get it back," Adams said. "The money isn't the issue. It's the chair."
Goodwill is a place where people can donate used goods. Then, other people with just a few dollars of folding money can get a decent chair like the chair that Mary Cherry sat in so many times. The money goes to job training programs. But the store doesn't track "who bought what," said Goodwill spokesman Bo Hussey.
Goodwill is willing to help find the chair. The organization is willing to put up a flyer at stores with the picture of the chair on it, and maybe, just maybe, somebody will recognize the chair and offer to sell it back.
The chair is where six children, and so many grandchildren, great-grands and great-great-grands that Mary Cherry said, "I can't count them all," fell asleep in the comforting lap, the warm nest of safety, of Mary Cherry.
Mary Cherry, a widow for years, the bottom of her left leg gone from poor circulation, lived until a few years ago in the Sam Walker Road house. That was long after she came out of working the fields near the Rowell community in northeastern Chester County.
Long after she was married and had her six children and worked tending the children of so many people -- mainly teachers -- that she can't remember all those families' names.
Long after she cleaned houses near Winthrop to make a living, and worked cleaning at Winthrop, to take care of her family.
But not long after she looked like a beauty queen because she is still a looker. She went to adult day care Tuesday like she always does -- "I never miss," she said -- and looked great right down to the earrings.
So now, Keisha Adams, her aunt Edna and Mary Cherry herself are hoping someone will read this, while maybe sitting on that chair with their feet propped up good and relaxed-like.
That person will know Mary Cherry is praying.
To find the chair and for someone to bring it home for her to sit on once more.