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Friday, March 23, 2007

My Grandmother's Kitchen

Some of the best memories I have as a child under the age of eight, are in my grandmother's kitchen. It was a relatively big kitchen compared to what you might find in a house today. At least that is my memory of it. There was an alcove for the table and chairs with windows all around it. There were two doors into it from the house, one from the hallway and one from the dining room and another door out to the back yard. To me, that house is still what I have in my mind as a traditional house. My twin sister and I grew up in that house until our mother remarried when we were eight. I have such fond memories of Cathy and I sitting at our little red card table with the fold-out legs and nursery rhyme characters like Jack and Jill on the beige vinyl table top. We had matching red folding chairs to go with it. (I think my mom might still have the table, at least.)

I have vivid memories of my sister sitting woefully in front of a plate bearing brussels sprouts and my grandfather bopping by and surreptitiously grabbing one or two of them and stuffing them in his mouth, while I suppressed a giggle. I always ate my brussels sprouts like a good girl, but then again, I LIKED them (and still do!)

I can still remember which cupboard the treacle was kept in, which we used to eat on Yorkshire Pudding for dessert.

I can remember bursting through the door from the back yard into the kitchen with handfuls of dandelions for my Granny's yellow canary, "Cheepy". He was a sweet little bird and liked to sing to anything electric, such as the vacuum cleaner or blender. The day he died Granny picked us up from school which was a rare treat and then broke the news on the way home. I recall her carefully taking him out of a paper bag to show us his little body. The kitchen was not quite the same after that, without him singing joyfully from his cage.

I can remember peering out the kitchen window when Granny would say "there's Grandad's plane going over, wave to him!" when Grandad would go on business trips. He was (and still is at the age of 90) an interior decorator.

We would ask Granny how old she was and she'd say "one hundred and seven", and the light shining through the kitchen windows would glint in her eyes.

I DO recall one dreadful evening when I was about six and as I was heading out of the kitchen after supper, Granny said "where do you think you're going?" and threw me a dish towel. It was dishes forever after that (on alternate nights, thank goodness for twins!) with careful, nay stern, instructions from her: "don't take the dish I just put in the rack, let it drain!"

That house, and therefore kitchen, is long gone. It was torn down to accommodate something more modern, I'm sure. Based on my personal memory, I used Paintbrush to create a floor plan of the main floor of that old house. It seems so huge in my memory, but I am sure had I visited it again as an adult, it would not have seemed so big.

It's a little tiny, sorry. If you click it, it gets a little bigger.

In my own experience, kitchens tend to be places of congregation. No matter how much seating you have in the rest of your house, company will always gravitate towards the kitchen. It becomes the nucleus of a house. Laughter and happiness abide in the kitchen. My kitchen shall be no exception.

I am very happy that our new house has a family room/kitchen area that is of a good size. I hope that I can build the same kinds of memories for my children and subsequently my granchildren. Maybe I'll even get them to call me "Granny"!


Anonymous said...

My darling Heather,
My memories of that kitchen are just as vivid. I not only have the table but I still have the chairs. I can close my eyes and picture you and Cathy sitting at it for your meals. Believe it or not, I also tell my dish driers to leave the dishes I have just washed to drain, because I still do some dishes by hand. I think we all grow up to be just like our mothers! I only hope my grandchildren grow up with just as many wonderful memories of my kitchen, even though I have a dishwasher.
Love you always, Mom

Regina Clare Jane said...

That was a lovely story, Heather! And I'm a twin, too, so I get what you mean about alternate nights!
I always loved the idea of having a little bird in the kitchen- your story about Cheepy was very touching...
Thnaks for sharing all these memories!

gautami tripathy said...

Very vivid images of your grandmother's kitchen. I too remember my grandma feeding me in her kitchen so long ago. Even now when I go see here, she still insists that I do not go back hungry. And she is 91 years old now.

Cook up a tale

Patry Francis said...

My grandmother's kitchen was a special place for me, too. Thank you for reminding me of her homemade jam, and the way she always sang when she was cooking.

Remiman said...

Those are heartfelt warm memories. I too think of the house's kitchen as the nucleus of the family's gathering place.
It's still my favorite room.

khambagirl said...

I have great memories of my grandmother's kitchen, as well. Very well written!

Linda said...

I remember standing next to my grandmother while she made biscuits, the best ever. She also loved buttermilk which I thought was egg nog until I took a big swig. She was a gardner and had a huge one surrounded by a high fence to keep out deer. Wish I could have spent more time with her.

Gypsy Purple said...

What a delightful blog you have...glad I visited!!!

Jody said...

I loved reading this. I too have fond memories of my grandmothers kitchen. Her house is still standing in Wisconsin, but we sold it 7 years ago. I took loads of video of it to show the kids.