|Me, first Christmas in this house, 1976. That's my |
first Tappan stove in the background. The house
was nowhere near finished yet.
The kettle reminded me of the neighbor we called "Grandma" Compton. She wasn't my grandmother, of course. My grandmothers lived in England and New Orleans. But she suggested to my mother that we children call her that, even though to be honest she was a little frightening to us. She was, we thought, really old. Now I realize Grandma Compton was probably about the age I am now, possibly a few years older. Her deep, rich voice intimidated any child thinking of mischief, and her eyes didn't seem to miss a thing.
(This memory of Grandma Compton's kitchen is sharing space with some pics of the evolution of my kitchen here in this house I built with my first husband 40 years ago.)
We didn't go to her house often; in fact, I can only remember being there twice. Once was with my mother for some kind of party event where pretty things were shown by a lady to a group of other ladies, and the pretties were passed around for everyone to see. I don't remember what the things were, but I remember trying to keep one of them until my mother's firm voice told me to pass it on.
|About 1979, pretty tired from canning all summer and getting|
ready for my parents' second visit. Things were a little more
finished, but no electricity yet.
So a little bit later I was shyly knocking on the door of the big white Victorian house two doors down
from us and shaking a bit when a loud voice called "Come on in!" I made my way timidly through the dark hallway with its looming oak hall tree and wide stairs that disappeared in darkness above me. "Come in, come in!" the voice boomed again, and then I was in the kitchen.
|About 1982. My parents were visiting for|
the third time, bringing English family
with them. Still no electricity, and the Tappan
had given up and was replaced by this stove that
I came to hate.
Grandma Compton's sharp eyes saw me and she said, "Hello there. You've come for the apples, I expect." I could only nod, my voice completely trapped in my throat."
She clumped over to the door that led to the back porch and lifted a brown bag full of apples, bringing it over to where I stood like a statue. "Will you help your mother with these?"
I nodded quickly and swallowed. "Yes ma'am," I squeaked.
She smiled. "Well then, get along home now." I scurried out of there and up the walk with the heavy bags, my feet seeming to grow wings.
|Early 1986, when I was working fulltime as a security guard in|
Charleston. That year I had my 5th son, and in 3 years I would be a
sophomore in college, and we would finally have electricity.
What about you? Is there a kitchen that stays vividly in your mind, one that brings back emotions and even smells when you think of it?
And another thought: Where does the word kitchen come from anyway? According to Wiktionary:
|My wood cookstove, which I finally sold|
2 years ago.
My kitchen today, with another beloved Tappan range:
For a fascinating look at kitchens through the ages, check out these sites:
Wayfair's Kitchens Through the Ages.
This Old House's American Kitchens Through the Ages
If vintage stoves are your thing, this post on Old House Online is a fun browse.
I am looking forward to reading about your favorite kitchens in the comments!
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.