ROCK-A-BYE BABY – New mother Amy Agrali holds her newborn twins, Brynn and Sean, in the Hal Taylor-inspired rocking chair created by Gerard Murray. The chair was specifically designed to contour to the human body, cradling the body much like a mother cradles her newborn child.
For many, a rocking chair evokes memories of their childhood, like getting rocked to sleep by their mother or father. Even the feel of a rocking chair brings comfort, almost as if lying in a mother’s arms.
For Pinehurst residents Gerard and Martha Murray, those very images have always had a special meaning, so special, in fact, that after the passing of both of their parents, Gerard decided to begin a project that will bring fond memories for many for years to come.
After six months of work, four of which Murray spent retrieving materials and two actually building the chair, he created a Hal Taylor-inspired rocking chair and the couple donated it to the Clarke Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.
“I’ve always been inspired to make a chair like this and I finally did it,” Murray says.
It is the first chair he ever built – piece by piece, all handmade.
The chair itself is unique, made of three different types of wood – tiger maple, ash and Texas mesquite – to highlight and give it an enhanced look, a feature of a Taylor-design chair.
Most importantly, the chair is built for comfort. Each piece of the chair is individual of each other or, as Murray says, “free form.”
“The back brace pieces are like cushions and springs,” he says. “They are designed to contour to the human body. Everyone that sits in the chair says they can’t believe that it is this comfortable. That’s just part of the design.”
New mothers can rock their newborns to sleep on the arm pads that are designed to cradle the arms.
“When both of our parents passed away, we chose to donate to FirstHealth to give back to the doctors who have helped us,” Murray says. “Since, we have chosen to continue to donate in whatever capacity we can. Both of our parents loved children. It was only logical to make this rocking chair and donate it to FirstHealth, to give back to our community and to help make a mother and her newborn feel comfortable.”