Nostalgia can be a melancholy trap or an adventurous romp through the past – either way without the need for Time Machines. My time machine is my mind and as long as I have that I can travel at will. My time machine can hook up with my hard drive and/or my set of USBs. These and digital photos enhance the potential of my “Mind” by adding rich additional detail. “Mind” is easily triggered by a picture, a thing, a thought, an event. Almost anything can fire it up, and then “Mind” is off to the races again.
Sometimes it annoys me when I want to sleep, or when there is something I don’t want to remember that interferes with what I want to think and do in the present. Then, too, it may choose to taunt me with a variety of alternative routes that I might have taken at key junctures in my earlier life.
The cupboard in the kitchen of my childhood was probably constructed in 1932, in the year before my parents married. It was built out of poplar wood and constructed with the loving hands of my father-to-be, fashioned in practicality and from the need to provide my future mother with a wedding present – a two for one bargain. These were the 30’s. We would be at the front of the Minimalist Movement for at least another decade.
Much later, after the family farm was sold, our parents moved into a house in Spalding. Here the hutch was relegated to the basement where it served as shelving for preserves. Lower shelves and the flour bin went into dad’s workshop/garage that was attached to the side of house. There they took a bit of a beating.
The kitchen cupboard would prove to be more durable than my father who lived to 74. However, Mom lived to 95 thus besting the cupboard by eight years. The cupboard was undaunted. Over time it has continued to serve our family quite well. However, when Mother moved from her house in Spalding into a seniors’ residence, the cupboard went into limbo – not cast off but certainly cast aside.
Limbo did not last long. Neither my sister nor my brother wanted it. Neither part was in good shape. Celeste contacted me hoping that I’d be interested in giving it a reprieve from the dump or a bonfire or continued indignities in someone’s basement or workshop. From a functional point of view I didn’t require more storage space. What I did seem to need were the memories that would come with the Kitchen Cabinet. It was a solid chunk of my “age of innocence”, when my parents did all the worrying and we children played and fought with joyous or ferocious abandon knowing always that in the end we would be cuddled (or cudgeled as needed), warm and well fed. I had to have it. Joe and Celeste packed it up and sent it East – both parts. At that time there was an excellent furniture repair place just off St. Laurent Boulevard. Roger’s would pick it up, do the necessary repairs and refinish it in the original colours.
It was parked in the sunroom/greenhouse where its pale yellow background and dark green trim blended well. Not long after its restoration our son and his wife set up house in the Hintonburg area. It was a workers’ house from the early 1900’s and an appropriate home for a vintage kitchen cupboard. Their main priority was to get drafty areas caulked before winter arrived and/or before the next downpour. The old kitchen cupboard was just what they needed. It became their main kitchen storage unit for fourteen years until they had a modern kitchen installed.
So the cupboard was on the move again. For the next few years it languished in two consecutive basements until I decided to reclaim it and go through the repair and repaint cycle again. It is now a part of our finished basement where it has been refilled, not with food or plates or a bag of flour, but with shelves and cupboards full of treasured family mementos. It has come “home” again. Our daughter insists that when it next moves it is her turn to enjoy it. Two granddaughters may be interested in due time. It is now 87 years old and has served in seven settings. It has had a wonderful sometimes bumpy past and now has excellent prospects for the future.
The cupboard: Green and Yellow is its first incarnation.
Sandy colour on new look in keeping with its current residence and in its future location.