Grandma’s Kitchen II

Remembering grandma’s kitchen can bring forth a number of recollections.  One time one of the in-house aunt’s became seriously concerned about the state of the linoleum on the kitchen floor.  The floor covering was one of those giant “slabs” of linoleum once widely used.  To change it meant not only buying a new “slab”; but, among other things, changing it meant moving everything in the kitchen so it could be laid.  That meant hiring a plumber to disconnect and later re-connect the gas stove. 

After some wandering about talking about the state of the floor covering, someone (probably that particular aunt) got the idea of painting over the thing where it could be conveniently reached as a temporary measure.  At least it would look half-way decent until arrangements could be made not only for a plumber but also for moving the likes of the refrigerator.  The only male in the household was grandpa, who was not in the best of shape. 

Deep in the memory is a thought of someone kneeling on the kitchen floor putting down daubs of white paint amid some other colors on a royal blue surface and instructions to not go into the kitchen.  There’s no recollection of things being moved, so new linoleum must have happened after the end of summer and the return home.  The apartment has linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom, and in each place it is one piece, not anything like the one-foot squares of many, many more recent decades past. 

Some “new” ideas are old. 

Grandma’s Kitchen

Grandma had an eight room house built in an earlier era, not so early that a fireplace was needed for heat as there wasn’t one, but earlier enough that a front parlor with sliding doors to close that off from the rest of the house existed.  Estimated from childhood memory, the kitchen was probably near a respectable fourteen foot square added to (not in) the main body of the house.  Logically, if there were a fire, given a good fire department, the house itself would be saved. 

In the eyes of a child, the kitchen (indeed, every room in the house except the powder room) could have been considered a big place.  For yours truly, “home” was the eastern half of a double house with good-sized rooms, but grandma’s places were bigger.  Grandma had grandpa and daughters at home to feed.  She spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking, so it was a warm, somewhat cozy place due both to her loving presence and the extra heat from the stove.   

“Warm and cozy” is not a description for the current apartment (as has been mentioned elsewhere).  Where to sit for a peaceful cup of coffee is always a question.  Recent good sense said take it to the living room; cigarette smoke makes for little air in the kitchen area.  Maybe it was because a warmed up breakfast roll was eaten first sitting beside the still-lit stove, but suddenly there was a sense of grandma’s kitchen.  The apartment building has a load of grandmas with visiting grandchildren.  The kitchens are like a large closet.  

Children will have other memories.  

So Dry And Dull – History

Technically, history is first of all a story (hi-story or high-story).  Most often what people meet in life is the so-called history of a nation, and it’s largely a list of kings (or dictators), wars and some odds and ends.  People also meet biographies, which are histories of individual people that have been declared important, usually written from the viewpoint of someone who either likes or dislikes the person.  There are also smaller histories, like the history of a company, school, or social movement. 

Telling such a story is always an iffy matter.  By it’s very nature it is a report of sorts, but none of the factual information that makes it a true (as opposed to fictional) story is either current, complete or even necessarily correct in it’s documentary form.  One can perhaps list data that has evidence:  records show that so-and-so was born on such and such a day in such and such a place.  But, what was that place really like?  That latter part is usually ignored.  And, did the record keeper have a bad day and get the date wrong? 

Even if one is physically present at some event, one can remember things inaccurately.  Now, the world isn’t going to stop spinning if yours truly happens to get something down wrong; but, it’s worth mentioning that even the best of us can get things down wrong regardless of how hard one tries.  (That’s all just a point in passing.) 

Truth can be elusive. 

Cooking Stoves,,,,

The fast food restaurant advertising at hand says, “Extra Thick Flame Broiled Burgers.”  They do look good with their layers of fancy bun, green lettuce, red tomato, white onion, ooozy ketchup (etc.) around the thick brown hunk of meat with blackish grill marks.  It took several days for the concept of “flame-broiled” to sink into “active” thinking. 

The cooking stove in the apartment (and in former apartments) is a minimal (no space worth mention between the four burners) electric thing.  There’s a broiler setting on the oven knob, but they seem to have forgotten to put in the broiler under the oven.  It doesn’t matter much here and now, as yours truly is not in a position to do much cooking even if so inclined.  If it can’t be shoved into the microwave or stove oven or isn’t ready to eat, it isn’t eaten, period. 

What came into focus after several days was that the last cooking stove with actual flame used was the one in the house twenty years ago.  That be a fairly standard gas stove with space for pots in a section beside the oven.  And, a small pot would sit on the burner with flames licking the sides making it heat faster.  There’s no more flame at hand, no reserve for lighting cigarettes or means to toast marshmallows. 

It can take a while for some things.   

Business Telephones?

Once upon a time the personal board exchange (PBX) operator was a key person in any company or organization.  She (or he, as it could just as easily be a man as it could be a woman on the switchboard) was one of the few people who knew the company organization from top to bottom, welcomed people to the place and sorted through the telephone rubbish that plagues many homes as well as businesses. 

Although in total yours truly spent very, very little time on the switchboard, it was a treasured time and one of the most fun jobs ever worked.  While there no doubt have been some highly incompetent telephone receptionists in this world (like anything else, the job take certain acquired skills and inborn gifts), a good PBX operator was probably a sizable asset to many companies. 

It’s sad to see switchboard operators replaced by automated systems as has so often been the case with large conglomerates, although, admittedly, over-all, a big enough place may very well do better with automation.  However, recent calls to the mega supermarket, department store and even the local library, as well as some social services and government offices, have led to the conclusion that automation may not be more than about five percent better…sometimes. 

One can’t miss something one never had.   

Time…. Time…. Again!

As frequent readers know, yours truly has a sort of pre-occupation with the time adjustments from “Standard Time” to “Daylight Saving Time” and back again that happen twice a year.  It’s almost pointless to say “Standard Time” any more, as so little of the year is on Standard Time that it isn’t the standard any longer.  (As far west as Covington, Cincinnati, Dayton etc., are, high noon was about a half hour off the mark even originally; but, that’s beside the point.)

Of course, many people and official-like places have completely abandoned any differentiating.  They simply say something like “Pacific Time,” with a meaning of whichever one is being used at the moment.   No matter what a clock says, however, there is a natural order.  Animals and plants live according to the natural order.  So, if, say, human endeavor throws a bunch of traffic on a roadway an hour earlier, there may very well be some unnecessary road kill. 

This time around the time of time-changing, the little corner of civilization at hand got some added disturbance (maybe to help people forget such things).  About thirty-six hours before that witching hour, a powerful hail storm hit the area.  About two hours after the fact the fire alarm went off and sounded about three times as long as normal and, apparently, a water main broke as the morning came without water in the building. 

Nature can be pushed, but only so far. 

A Look Back

People of good intention (like “men of good will”) would be inclined to do the best they could in any given set of circumstances.  Even if the something turns out all wrong, they can say, believe and hold to the idea that what they did was the right thing to do or the right way to act to the point where, in other like situations, they would do exactly the same.  It’s a belief based on observation and conclusion, not an intention, that sets the righteousness. 

With birthday time drawing near (two of them, yours truly and mother), it’s reasonable to review things and consider what, if anything, might have been done better given experience and hindsight, even though a belief of rightness exists.  Why did this or that go the way it did?  Recollections can sometimes provide a better understanding of attitudes, the reasons for them, and the results, which are often a set of benefits different from what might have been. 

It’s a time to look forward too.  Being 74 (or near 75, if the “pre-born” age is counted) maybe it’s time to forget about getting a “real” job, particularly if riding around on a scooter becomes a way of life.  There’s the option of playing the lottery.  That’s a better chance of changing things for the better, assuming something else is better.  (One should just be careful not to make it too much playing.) 

There are many “new years” in a year.