52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Kitchen

The theme for this week is Kitchen. When I was a kid, I lived in a small house like many of my friends.  Small houses mean small rooms and small kitchens.  Today’s open concept kitchens are huge, incorporating the dining room and family room. The family room of my youth was the kitchen where my family gathered. And our dining room was my parent’s bedroom. I talked to Dave about this and found his parent’s bedroom was in the dining room too. I find it interesting that our parents would give up their bedroom to a child. However, Dave said who would want a kid’s bedroom out in the open with all the toys and mess. I think he has a point.

You can see my mother’s teacups, the refrigerator behind me, and the huge turkey

In the picture above, we are celebrating our Thanksgiving dinner taken in 1958. The second picture below is Christmas day taken the same year. I was eleven years old. My brother, Bill, was nine. You can see the turkey on the table. My mother always bought a turkey to feed a family of fifteen rather than four. Turkey sandwiches were on the menu for lunch for several days afterward.

Christmas Day 1958

I loved the teacups hanging on the wall under the window. My mother collected these teacups over the years. As I got older, I helped my mother by carefully washing the teacups for her. As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, she took in ironing to supplement the family income. She worked long days. I don’t know how she managed to do the ironing and all the other things required to keep a household going. She was a clean freak before Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The night before each holiday it was a pleasure to crawl into my bed made-up with fresh, clean sheets. I don’t know what happened to my mother’s teacups. They disappeared after several moves.

I always sat at the end of the table closest to the refrigerator. I called it the icebox until I realized how much that terminology dated me. I had to get up and move any time someone needed something. Over the refrigerator was a large cabinet where my mother hid our Christmas presents. When I was twelve, my parents began leaving me at home by myself. During one of my “home alone” moments, I decided to climb up on the chair and take a peek at the presents. There were a few Avon products that I knew were mine. Needless to say, I ruined my Christmas that year.

On the hutch is a pie. One of the funniest in my childhood is captured in my post, Paw Prints in the Pie. This is another story about our home and kitchen.

Sometime in my early teens, my parents either inherited or bought a Hoosier cabinet similar to the one you can see in the picture below. Hoosier cabinets got their name as many of them were made in Indiana.  The first Hoosier cabinets appeared in 1898, created by a furniture company called Sellers, in New Castle, Indiana.[1] I remember the cabinet had a flour sifter but, we didn’t use it. One day, I went to open the bottom cabinet door and it came off. The screws were missing but the door stayed on because of the latch. The only person in our family that would do such a thing was my almost-three-year-old brother, Dennis. I know it seems impossible that a small child could complete this fete, but this kid was capable of doing that and much more.

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. I think my mom was the heart and the kitchen was where she performed her magic.


[1] https://www.kountrykraft.com/blog/hoosier-cabinet-history

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