Saturday, February 22, 2014
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
As best as I can remember, here are the items that were in the kitchen of our Penrose home during the years I was there between 1944 and 1949:
- Starting on the east side of the room to the right of the door to the living room: the clock shelf, with a succession of alarm clocks, some of which worked, some of which were cussed. The clock on the clock shelf was the monitor of our lives, time for school, time for church, time for bed.
- Below the clock shelf was the woodbox (blue?) with kindling and paper to start fires in the kitchen and in the living room.
- In front of the woodbox was the coal bucket.
- Somewhere in the vicinity was the shovel, alternatively called the coal shovel or the fire shovel, used for adding small lumps of coal to the stove fires or for scooping ashes out of the ash pits of the stoves to haul outside.
- Next, moving to the right, the coal stove for both cooking and heating. That meant trying not to cook much during the summer heat. As I remember, four removable lids were to the left on the top of the stove. To the far right was the hot water reservoir. Under the stove top was the oven. A shelf was two or three feet above the stove top where the matches were kept.
- On the south wall were two cupboards, one with doors (to the left of Liz who is drying dishes) and one open cupboard (to the right of Louise who is washing dishes). Mother's meager collection of pots and pans were kept in the lower cupboard on the left. Louise and Liz are using the two battered white enamel dishpans, used for bread making and everything else, but one for washing and one for rinsing at dish time. To Louise's immediate right is the flour bin. And then, in retrospect, the incredibly tiny fridge that served a family of eight people. This is the only known photo of the south side of the kitchen.
- On the west wall just around the corner from the fridge was the wash stand on which were kept two water buckets carried in from the pump 20 yards away from the kitchen. Also on the wash stand was an enamel wash basin. To the immediate left on the floor was the "slop" bucket, in which leftovers and waste were dumped. I taught Steve the principles of centrifugal force in showing him how to twirl a full slop bucket (outside, of course), over one's head without spilling a drop. Mostly, we threw waste water out the west door a little way out in the yard. A single dipper for drinking was in the water buckets. And, yes, we all drank out of it.
- Above the wash stand was the medicine cabinet. Dad kept his HIS brand shaving soap and Gillette razor and blue blades there, which we replenished each Christmas for 25 cents a package from Fryer's Pharmacy in Powell. Also, we had aspirin, but very little else.
- To the right of the washstand, between the washstand and the west door, was the cream separator. The buckets of milk were carried in from the cowbarn after milking and the milk was separated from the cream after saving out enough milk in bottles in the fridge for drinking. The cream was dumped in the cream can which reposed behind the slop bucket, where it soured and got hauled to town once a week to sell to the creamery there, and often provided the only meager ready cash for buying the week's necessities. The skim milk was carried back out to the barn and fed to the calves. Dad always said the skim milk gave the calves pot bellies, so I was always reluctant to drink skim milk for many years because I thought the same fate awaited me.
- To the right of the west door out to the yard and along the north wall was the table where eight people gathered to eat. The clock shelf is on the wall in the background and you can see the stove back and shelf.
- This concludes my inventory of the items in the very tiny kitchen in the Penrose home in which I spent my final five years at home before leaving for college. A few years later, Dad added an electric stove and replaced the coal stoves with gas heat.
- Additions and corrections and stories about what went on in this kitchen are welcome.