812 - the Home: Kitchen History!
From time-to-time I post about my parent's house, the house I grew up in and the house my dad has rebuilt in its entirety. After all, my dad and 812 are the reason for 173 - following in my father's footsteps is really my way of thanking and celebrating him.
Today we'll talk about the kitchen. Back in the day the kitchen was the central hub of the house. Sure, mom cooked in the kitchen, we (obviously) ate meals there, and did dishes (mostly my older sister and I argued over who was going to wash and who was going to dry). But the kitchen was about more than just meals. When visitors came, the kitchen was the hangout spot. I have very specific memories of mom hanging out with her friend Alice - drinking tea (or coffee maybe?), and smoking Tereytons (remember their old tagline - "I'd rather fight than switch"?) and it seems like Alice smoked some king of Menthol. I also remember relatives coming over, and they'd all stay up late, talking in the kitchen. Of course it may not have been as late as I remember because my bedtime back then was 8:30, so 9:00 would be late to me!
But the kitchen at 812 holds much fonder memories for me. So many Sunday afternoons playing Gin Rummy or some other game with mom, or learning how to paint with paint-by-numbers kits, listening to the radio and trying to record our favorite songs after waiting hours for them to be played again! That's just a few of the memories - I could fill a book! But the best memory about the kitchen is a Christmas memory. Must have been about 1972 or 73, and after all the gifts were opened in the living room, mom called from the kitchen to say it was time for breakfast. When my older sister and I went in, there were two beautiful, brand new bikes - Sting Rays to be exact!
I couldn't find an actual picture of mine, but it was creamsicle orange with a black seat, and my sister's was lime green - hey it was the '70s! To this day that bike remains my all-time favorite Christmas gift, and ma captured the very moment of discovery in the kitchen:
Nothing like the genuine look of surprise on a kid huh? So, as you can see - the kitchen was always a very important place! In the two pictures above, you see the kitchen as it was when we moved into 812 around 1971 or so. I still remember that old refrigerator, this was before dad closed in the back porch and moved the fridge out there, and before we switched to Avocado appliances!
In the post about the back porch I wondered if there had been a window on the left side of the door:
Turns out there was!
That picture gives a good hint of the old cabinets as well as the how groovy yours truly was, and how small my kid brother was. But here's an even better picture of the cabinets - and my baby sister finally makes it into the blog!
At some point dad re-did the kitchen. I think he re-faced the cabinets and built new doors. Unfortunately, the only pictures I have of that are a bit blurry, but you get the idea:
No, the cabinets didn't have headlights - ma had to take a picture of a picture to get it to me for this post. At the time dad redid the kitchen it was a profound change! By today's standard I suppose the wood would be considered very dark, but that was offset by the orange counter top, which back in the late 70s was quite stylish! And here's a shot of the other side of the kitchen. I believe both the upper and lower cabinets were handmade by dad.
And here's yours truly showing off his 16 year-old awesomeness! But the fact is, this picture shows both the finished back porch and the trim and wallpaper of the kitchen after the first remodel!
I wish I had a picture of the same wall the old fridge had been on. After moving the fridge to the new back room, dad built a pantry in the spot where the fridge had been. This is significant for me because while running some plumbing in the wall before building the pantry, I learned that solder is hot! I was holding a pipe with a pair of pliers while dad soldered a joint, and a small drop of solder dripped on my thumb! Solder is HOT! A lesson I only needed to learn once!
Okay, all well and good for a couple decades. Then around about 2009, dad - then in his 70s, completely rebuilt the kitchen! He tore out the old cabinets, ran new plumbing, and even leveled the floor! He even tiled the floor!
All new cabinets, and counter tops everywhere! And something else to notice...
Dad went with the stylish trim-less look!
Look at all those cabinets, and for the first time ever ma had lots of counter space! And of course, the kitchen remains the hub!