Friday, January 23, 2015

For the Love of Tappan

My stove, being checked out at my son's house
before he brought it to me.
I was waiting on my routine checkup at the doctor's earlier this week when my phone rang.

"Hello," said a male voice on the other end. "Is this Granny Sue?"

"Yes it is."

"My name is Mike, and I'm in Texas. A friend showed me your post about your Tappan Deluxe stove on a Tappan website. I have one and had some questions. I hope you have a minute to talk."

"Sure," I said. "Do you have a Tappan?"

My Tappan, at home in my kitchen
"I do," he said. "It's a 1951 Deluxe model. My grandmother bought it the year I was born. I've moved it all over the country with me. Right now it's in a storage unit. I am wondering, do these stoves have any value? I'm moving soon to Oregon, and wondering if it will be worth the cost to ship the stove there. I got it from my grandma in Buffalo, New York. Then I moved to West Virginia for a few years, then back to Buffalo, a few places in between and now I'm in Austin. This stove is like an albatross that I drag behind me everywhere I go, but I hate to part with it. It's so cool, looks like a space ship or something when it's all lit up. And it was my grandmother's, you know?"

What a story. I had to know more, so we talked about our stoves for a few more minutes, discussing the potential value of the stove versus the cost of moving it one more time. "I am still so in love with mine, and cannot imagine selling it, I told Mike."

Then I asked about Mike's time in West Virginia. He named a place not far from where I live, and that he'd moved there in the mid-70's.

"We might have known some of the same people, then," I said. West Virginia is, after all, like a small town--talk to someone long enough and you'll find someone you know in common, and sometimes even a common relative.

Mike rattled off some names, all familiar to me from those days 40-some years ago when many of us moved to these mountains to escape the world. Homesteaders, hippies, back-to-the-landers, call us what you will, we were all in flight from a world we thought had gone mad. (My husband and I were a little different from most of the newcomers, because he had a job and we had four children. We didn't do drugs, drink, or have radical political views--we just wanted land and a good place to raise our sons. a lot of the newcomers were like us, just looking for a place to call home.)

Suddenly I realized that I knew this guy! I asked him his name, and when he told me, I said, "I knew you back then!" I named where he had lived, and as we talked he slowly remembered who I was too.

The nurse came out and called my name. "I've gotta go, Mike. It was wonderful to connect with you again."

"Yeah!" He said. "If you ever come to Oregon, call me. You've got my number now."

That just might happen. We'll be in Oregon this summer, just three hours from where Mike will be living.

Such a small world, really, isn't it?

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


hart said...

That is friendliest face I've ever seen on a stove. Looks a bit surprised even.--Jane

Quinn said...

This is why they say truth is stranger than fiction!

And that is one gorgeous stove...I wouldn't want to part with it either!

annie said...


storytellermary said...

I love your many connections! Smile on my face ;-)

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