… To Change a Light Bulb

Last time, I told you about one of the graces surrounding our recent move. Now, as promised, here’s one of the glitches….

My dad, a railroad man who had always done woodworking as a hobby, took up stained glass art during retirement. One of his more delightful projects is this table lamp.
Apart from the socket assembly, “harp,” and finial, which he had to buy, he designed, built, and wired the whole thing himself. Well, Mom suggested the stem and leaves in the base, which I think makes it absolutely perfect.

Anyway, the base is made of wood from a broken desk Dad had salvaged at his office years earlier. That dark metal post holding up the shade is part of a trailer hitch.

My “Pops” was nothing if not resourceful.

One really cool feature he included is a night-light bulb in the base, which can be lit along with the main bulb or independently.

Mom treasured the lamp, using it in her apartment after Pops died. After she was gone, I carefully swaddled the base and shade and brought the lamp home, planning to use it in my office at our new house.

Weeks after we moved, we brought my grandmother’s desk from storage. Finally, a safe place to set the lamp. I dusted, attached the shade, plugged in, and…. click, click, click. The top bulb lit up, but not the small one in the base.

Obviously, it just needed a new light bulb. Simple, right?


I took the glass shade back off, parked it on a soft surface, and turned the base over to access the small bulb. Here’s what I saw:
I wasn’t surprised Pops had weighted the base. After all, the large shade would have made the lamp too top-heavy otherwise. I wasn’t even surprised that the metal plates looked like they’d been cut from a boxcar.

Like I said, “resourceful.”

But what on earth were those round things with square holes in them?

Brent was as flummoxed as I was, so I texted a picture to our friend who is a master woodworker.

“You just need a square screwdriver,” he replied.

Square. Screwdriver. Never heard of such a thing.

Ace Hardware to the rescue!

I got home and wrangled the plates off with my new tool, carefully orienting the “F” and “B” halves the way they were, so I could replace them correctly toward the “Front” and “Back”.
Next, reach into the base to remove the old bulb. . . only something stopped my fingers:
How am I supposed to get into that? Seriously, lookit all those nails!

Well played, Pops.

Why was that screen even on there? For the life of us, we couldn’t think of a single reason. I could, however, surmise that the night-light bulb had never ever been changed before.

Tin snips to the rescue!

Good news: We had plenty of those standard little night-light bulbs.
Bad news: We got into the base, only to find the bulb was not a standard night-light type, but a more spherical one.

Fortunately, my never-throw-anything-away parents had some of these in their box of light bulbs.

We’d kept the box because we never throw anything away, either.

Minutes later, I had re-assembled the lamp and plugged it back in.

Worth the effort, I’d say!





Your turn! What do you think of my dad’s handiwork? Do you have any treasured items from your family? Ever have a one-minute task take half a day?? I’d love for you to share in the “Leave a Reply” box below.

Thanks for reading,

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
This entry was posted in I Remember When... (my OWN stories) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to … To Change a Light Bulb

  1. Donna Price says:

    Jan, Your lamp is beautiful. I too love antiques. How precious things are when made by a family member. On our dining table is a crocheted bedspread, made with thread, not yarn, made by David’s great-grandmother. It is very elegant.
    Donna Price


  2. Pingback: The Myth of Scheduled Office Hours at Home | Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story

Your Turn: comments welcome here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.