As Ameranth said "Damn those old people and their hundred year lead paint!" That was one thick layer of paint that clung tenaciously to the wood, and if it hadn't been chipped, I would have happily left it in place and covered it up. Even after using a gel stripper (and yes we ventilated well, ie. opened the window) and sanding (yes, we used masks) we didn't get every last bit off. But it feels smooth and is good enough for us.
There will be molding along the top to cover those gaps. In the next picture, a closet will be built to the right of the drawers, and shelves put back into the space on the left, the one the looks like a doorway. We've never figured that out because if it were a door, it would open onto the 3rd step of the staircase.
Obviously, the closet portion will be done after Shoeshine's visit next weekend. But this room will be clean and able to be slept in, which is all I ask for now.
I joked on Facebook yesterday about J running out to pick up some stripper. Later, speaking to Ms. M, I told her "I'm going upstairs to strip now" as I handed the phone to her father. She told him that was high on the list of "things you never want to hear your mother say".