The Old Pantry’s
I’d been thinking for some time about doing a blog on pantry’s of the yesterday’s. I don’t have any pictures of the pantry’s in the houses I lived in over the years. I don’t have any pictures of the houses I lived in during my childhood, and that’s sad because some of them were great houses. I decided to do a search on Google using the key words, old pantry’s. I just couldn’t believe the things that came up, lots and lots of restaurants named, The Pantry, The Old Pantry and The Pantry House which I think are all great names. The other thing I pulled up was “Pantry Kitchens” for those less fortunate folks going through some hard times, it was nice to see so many of them, around the country.
I wonder how many of you know what an old fashioned pantry really is. Many pictures came up like this one showing a small room with rows and rows of shelves filled with canned food. Now that may very well be what some or even many pantry’s were like in the 20’s and 30’s but they are not like the pantry’s in my life. I was born in 1939 and these are my memories of our pantry’s. I was in first grade and lived in a big old farm house in Massachusetts and it had a big pantry off the kitchen, or maybe it wasn’t so big but that I was small. It was narrow and long with counters over rows of cabinets and drawers under them and rows of shelves from the ceiling down to the counter tops. A window was at the very end of the room for plenty of light to come in. When you’d open a cabinet door you might see a large bin for holding your potato’s and another smaller bin behind another cabinet door for flour. I often hid in the pantry staying very quiet so my brothers wouldn’t find me. One time I actually tried to crawl into the potato bin while hiding from them, it didn’t work, I couldn’t fit. Some had the kitchen sink in them and in one place we lived in Connecticut it had room for our ice box, yes we had an ice box in my day.
Most families had electric refrigerators by now but we were some what poor and still could not afford to buy such a luxury item just yet. We were not alone though because in the summers I remember several kids in our neighborhood waiting for the iceman to come and deliver the ice to their homes too. When the truck pulled up to our houses we would run up to the iceman and just stand their with our hands held out like we were trying to cup some water with big smiles on our faces. He knew what we wanted because it was a weekly task and he never seemed to mind it. The task chipping off pieces of ice for us to gleefully run off crunching on it and cold streams of water running down our faces. He wore a large black rubber cape type article on his back and large claw type tongs to grab and hold tight the big square chunks of ice, then he’d swing it over his back to carry it up to our kitchens. The ice box had a large tray under the ice shelf with a rubber tube connected to a hole in the tray that ran all the way down the back of the refrig to the floor resting in a good size pan that had to be emptied out every night by which ever kid was available, usually it was emptied after we got done doing washing and drying the dishes.
Have you seen old ice boxes in antique shops, some of them are absolutely beautiful and can cost hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars. Ours was not like them, it was a straight white box. I’m happy to see that in some new homes the old fashioned pantry is coming back, except not so old fashioned and folks that buy these homes don’t really know what they are missing.
I Learned How to Use a Computer at The Age of Fifty Nine.
My youngest daughter Kelly, age thirteen was really doing good at school in her computer class so I agreed to purchase a small Apple computer. At that time you could use a small TV for your monitor. Considering I was killing two birds with one stone, computer for her room, TV for her room, why not! It was just Kelly and myself left at home now, I was divorced and my two older children had graduated school and moved on. Kelly was having some miner life problems and having her interested in an educational activity was a good thing. She also was playing an instrument in band, raising and showing Lop-eared rabbits, taking roller-skating lessons and hitting all the Antique Shops with me learning about old and sometimes priceless pieces Life was good.
I had absolutely no interest in her computer. I built nice big rabbit cages and went to different town buying special breeds of Lop Eared rabbits with her. I went to the fairs with her when she was showing her rabbits. I also took the skating-lessons with her and we’ve already covered the antique thing, so no….I did not get involved with her and her computer. Also let me inform you, in those days their were no EVIL things on your computer that parents and children had to fear. Looking back, oh how I wish I had gotten involved with her computer activity’s and had her show me what it was all about.She was able to find jobs quickly because of her computer knowledge after she got out of school. I had helped her buy a home and then had a smaller place built right behind her house that I could live in. While she worked I watched her two girls, my grandbabies, and enjoyed landscaping our combined yards, making water gardens, arbors, and a garden.
I had a girlfriend living next door to me and another girlfriend living on the other side of me. It was so neat except there moms did a lot more with them then my mom did with my brothers and me. Now please don’t get me wrong, my mom was great, she just didn’t know how to drive. The thing is Mary Jane’s mom did not work and she had her own car which was a little unusual in those days, early fifty’s. My friend Patty on the other side of my house had moved here from New York. Her mom was divorced, had a car, and was a school teacher so she was home all summer. I think she got alimony from her ex so she didn’t need a summer job like many teachers did.
The moms often took them to River Side Amusement Park or to a lake called Bab’s Beach, which was a neat place for teenagers. It had two docks, a water wheel, and a soda shop that made awesome banana splits! Once in a great while they would take my brother and me with them. How I managed to get through the summer was by doing this. In those days a lawn mower sounded the same as a motor boat, and the gas smell from a mower was the same as the smell of the gas from the motor boat. I found that when I was laying on a blanket with my portable radio playing softly next to me and I shut my eyes, felt the warm sun on my face, and the neighbor kids playing and laughing, I could really place myself at the beach.
Author Eileen Clark
If I Only Had a Brain
I was eight years old in second grade when I began to notice the kids in my class always had the answer when called on and I never did. I remember the year was 1947, the reason I remember that date because I can still see it written on every line on yellow lined paper with a black led pencil. The teacher wanted us to put the the date up in the right hand corner of our paper and I never could remember the date. I stayed back in second grade.
I won’t drag you through all the agonizing experience in my life but just the ones that are still with me. Forth or fifth grade, walking home from school I threw one of my books in the bushes because I didn’t understand my homework and would skip school the day test were given. In the summer the boys went outside to play after they finished the chores and I sat at the kitchen table with my mom trying to teach me math, how to tell time, and spell simple words. She painted pictures on the back of big sheets of wallpaper, balloons, apples, balls, and a big clock with moving hands. I also heard often, ” Why can’t you get this stuff right like your brothers do.”
The sad thing is I also looked bad, very skinny, straight brown hair, a big space in the middle of my teeth, my eyebrows grew right across my forehead meeting each other. Also I was left handed, no one but me in my class was left handed and I had one front tooth that was BLACK!! It seems I fell on my face one day hitting my teeth, nice. I quit school a few days after I turned sixteen, who would of guessed.
So now we’ll go to my adulthood. I never thought about it catching up on me like it did. The first time was with my kid sister. She’s still in her teens and I’m married with one child. I remember the very day, we were in the post office and I said something to her, don’t remember what it was but after she answered I felt much younger then her and way less knowledgeable. She was passing me. The second time was even worse because this time it was my teenage daughter. We were in the yard at our home in Texas and after I got done telling her something she kindly corrected me, very scary. And then the very very worst…You write a nice letter to your granddaughter who’s about ten or twelve and a week later you see your letter on her dresser in her bedroom with corrections made on your spelling. Still I did pretty good bluffing my way through life. I had many good jobs, wrapping meat in the supermarkets, working in the insurance company, worked at a double wide factory hanging the curtains in all the rooms, cleaning, staining, trimming, and final inspection. At forty I got my GED, ya ! I got a job at a workshop as a therapeutic technician working with adults that had retardation issues. I remember one day saying to a co-worker and good friend, they don’t know things like I don’t know things, the difference is, they don’t know that they don’t know things, I know that I don’t know things, that I’m stupid!
I’m a Jehovah’s Witness and when I received one of our Awake magazine and on the cover was written, Does Your Child Have Learning Problems? As you can see I still have that magazine, May, 1983. I read it and then I went to our library and got several books on learning disability’s. As I read them I cried, it was me, everything I was reading was about me. My mom was telling me on the phone one day that my dad shuts down when he gets nervous or someone is giving him directions so I guess that tells you who I got it from. I can’t read road maps, can’t drive far from home, can’t follow directions when to many are given, we tend to shut down, became a great con artist in that we have ways of squeezing out of tough situations if we’re called upon. We do much better with visual information then reading stuff. Now that i got all this important information it answered so many things I had wondered about. I was a very intelligent person, much more then many so called smart people, how can this be. Why did I have so much trouble learning something when so many others didn’t? The bright side of all of this is people like myself are very creative and artistic and that I am!
Author Eileen Clark
Thank God For The Bad Boy’s
Ringling Brothers ~ Hartford Circus Fire
I was 5 years old when this fire occurred. My family did not live in Hartford but my grandparents did. We lived in a little town near Hartford. My mom wanted to take the boys to the circus because it was so close by and it might not ever come to Hartford again, so they brought me to my grandparents home to stay with them while my brothers got to go to the circus. I really did not have much understanding of what a circus was all about so I really didn’t care about going. Well all I remember is that the boys got into some serious trouble and my father evidently thought it was bad enough that the punishment was to be they were Not going to the circus! I remember the boys were crying and crying and mom was fussing about how severe the punishment was. Grandpa always had the radio on in their tiny den and he would sit in a rocker right next to it. I can’t go into to any detail about that day other then the news came on about the fire. The reason why it has left a Big impression on me is because my mother was going from room to room thanking God for the boys being so bad.
Lets Get Past This ~ Arthritis Challenges
I could not get out on my porch It was a normal doorway like any other doorway but it could have been a high brick wall for me. Being in a wheelchair brings so many challenges you would not believe. For the past four years I would sit at my glass storm door and look out at the porch. Well this year I was not going to do that. I had my son in-law take the storm door out and rip the threshold out….all of it ! He was so concerned about me, he thought maybe I have finally lost it, but after explaining to him what I wanted to do he gave a big sigh and said, consider it done with a big smile on his face. I’m so blessed I have him living near me.
You can see what a great job he did. I had to buy a new storm door to fit the new opening. The black strips are for me to get traction for my feet to push myself back into the house. I have to use my feet to get around as my hands are twisted and painful. The bottom of my slippers get worn out very quickly. 🙂
Now that I can get out on my porch I can see I don’t have enough room to move around. My chair gets hung up on the white chairs, the table, the fountain, and my cat’s tails. More then once I’ve wheeled over them with both cat and me screaming. Meowwww!
I have been going out their every morning now with my coffee, what a joy, except this one morning I opened the door and all three cats were sprawled out with their legs stretched out as far as possible and tails spread out everywhere. I just turned myself around and went back to the kitchen to have my coffee. That’s when I made up my mind, bigger porch, you need a bigger porch.
Here now are pictures of my porch before the big change.
You can see how close to the fountain the door is. Fortunately my neighbor was having a deck built on the back of his house. I went out on my little porch and hollered to the carpenter to come over to my yard when he got a chance. He did, and we talked, and he informed me it would not be a problem at all to extend my porch out 2 1/2 feet, would add quite a bit to my needs, would not cost too much, and would be done in two days. Two day’s !!! Let’s do it. Here are pictures for you to see the change it has made for me and my cats.
You can see it’s no longer a porch but a deck! Nice huh 🙂
Valerie had joined the full time regular pioneer service as soon as she graduated high school. We lived right next to the hall so that was a big help for her to do this. We didn’t have much extra cash, just enough for our needs. We bought our cloths at Goodwill and matched them up with new cloths. You can get more outfits that way. It was a bit hard to get shoes. First we didn’t like wearing someone else’s shoes and Val had big feet which she inherited from me. Size 10 – 11. It was hard finding nice new shoes in that size in the department stores like Kaymart and Walmart. She was down to one pair of dress shoes for service and we were discussing the situation just before the meeting Thursday evening. I told her we’ll just have to pray for something to come up.
When we got home that very same night, a big black leaf and lawn bag was propped up in front of our door in the car port. We dragged it in and a tag was tied around the top of the bag that had Duncanville written on it. That was a town miles from our town, it was near Dallas. It was filled with clothes that no one in our house could wear. Val just kept pulling them out until she was almost to the bottom when she yelled….shoes! She pulled them out, about five or six pair. They were all nice, attractive, dress shoes, and they were size ten. Also we knew they were from a witness sister which helped Val in the wearing of used shoes.
Thank you Jehovah!
Author Eileen Clark
Matthew 6:33 “Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.
Why Study The Bible
My Brothers Were Paperboys
My brothers were paper boy’s in the early forties, they were in third and fourth grade, let’s see, I guess that would have made them about 9 and 10 years old. It was in the city of Hartford Connecticut.
They delivered them after school and used a red wagon instead of bikes, we couldn’t afford bikes. We were Irish catholics living in an Italian neighborhood and that meant trouble for the boy’s, especially my younger brother because he had bright red curly hair and big freckles all over his pale white face.
You ask….how is it that that, would be trouble for the boy’s?
Irish and Italian’s did not mix together to well. The Italian boy’s named Jo, Rocky, and I don’t remember the other names would be on the corner when the bundle of papers were dropped off to be folded and put in the red wagon by my brothers.
Rocky and friends would scatter the papers all over the streets and passing cars would carry them off on their hoods, roofs and trunks never to be seen again. Other times Rocky and friends would wait till the papers were all folded and stacked neatly and ready to be delivered, then throw them all over the streets. No one could do anything about it and the boy’s just took it. Well it did escalate to the point where Rocky and friends were waiting on the corner along with, this time, untouched papers. They had other plans this particular afternoon.
They wrapped white adhesive tape all over the boys heads. My mother had to cut most of their hair off and they went to school the next day almost bald, along with mother, who went right to the principal’s office to give Father O’Malley a “Show and Tell” complaint. The Father questioned my brothers until he was blue in the face because my brother’s would not “squeal” on Rocky and friends.The very next evening the Italian boy’s were waiting on the corner for my brothers. The news papers were all folded and stacked in a neat pile. As soon as the boy’s appeared, Rocky and friend’s placed the folded papers nicely in the red wagon and walked away. That was it !!! My brothers were never bothered again. Though every now and then when my brothers got to the corner where the bundles of papers were left off for them, they would find a nicely folded stack of news papers and they knew they were safe from not just Rocky and friends but from any other bully’s that might be around….the word got out, don’t nobody mess with the Irish paper boy’s because the Italian boy’s were watching over them.
Author Eileen Clark
The Paper Boy
All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers –my brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 2 cents. He had to get up at 6 AM every morning. On Saturday, he had to collect the 42 cents from his customers. His favorite customers were the ones who gave him 50 cents and told him to keep the change. His least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day. Rain, snow, and summer heat never stopped them from getting their papers to their customers homes.
Author Eileen Clark
Image:Fine Art America
We all had black, up past your ankle, rubber boots. Little girls did not have red, blue or pink boots back then. The boots had snap type clamps from the middle to the top and often, when lazy, we did not buckle them up, just slipped them on and off we’d go. I loved to walk in the huge high snow banks along the side of the road where the plow’s piled it up after clearing off the roads.
On the way home from school one day, I was trudging along very slowly on the high snow banks. One foot after the other, each time my whole leg would be swallowed up into the bank, working very hard, wiggling my leg back and fourth to pull it up out of the snow only to clump the other foot and leg down almost to my hips into the snow bank.
Finally one day, sure enough, it was bound to happen, up came my foot with no boot !I quickly looked down the hole where my foot came up from only to see snow. Of course snow will fall into the hole when the foot comes up. I frantically searched, pulling snow away with my freezing red bare hands from where I thought the hole might have been to where my boot still just might be, all the time knowing I was dead !
Yes, my father would kill me when he got home from work. In matters like this, my mother would not kill me, she just got sick. Here’s how it would go…” I’m sick, you have made me sick over this, I just can’t take any more, now I am sick.” It was right after the second world war and we were poor, everyone was poor for awhile there, and I was NOT going to get a new pair of boots this winter. My feet were going to freeze every day back and fourth to school and in the play yard, and in my back yard, and at my girlfriends back yard, all winter long, frozen feet, and of course, the big spanking my father gave me that night when he got home from work.
Author Eileen Clark
Old Library’s, Soon to be Gone ?
Growing up in my home was not easy, we were not well off and my father was a mean man. I spent most of my time at my friends house, at the park and in our town library. We were blessed to have our library in an old Victorian house and they left the inside pretty much the way any old house would be. The floors were wide wood boards with lots of deep knicks scratches and dents, from years of use . Layers of high gloss varnish painted on them over the years made them look like black ice. Large windows with dark stained varnished woodwork and chair rail around every every wall in every room. It had a huge fireplace in the center of the large open room, although never lit. Big soft Queen Ann’s chairs were placed on each side of the fireplace and when I’d sit in one of them, I could almost smell the wood burning, even the warmth from it. Instead of my home being a refuge from all the scary things out in the world like a home should be to a little kid, the library was my refuge. As soon as I walked in the door, I felt a warm glow come over me. The smell of old books, the nice elderly librarian, the soft whispers here and their, and the comforting safeness I felt was amazing. I would spend much of my childhood in old library’s.
My life was not much different as a married adult, more happiness but still poor. My husband and I moved around a lot and I don’t mean from house to house or town to town but from state to state, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Texas and Kentucky. Because we had little money to spend on entertainment, the first thing I would do after getting settled was to take my three children into town to find the library. Wonderful libraries have I sat in over the years reading to my kids. All three of them to this day love old library’s and old books, and wonderful childhood memories. Is this something gone forever? Will the children of tomorrow never have the experience of sitting in an old library with the awesome smells of old books and squeaking floors, and the whispers of the librarian telling someone which isle they will find Treasure Island.
Author Eileen Clark
The Wagon Filled With Food
My husband had gotten to the point where he became very violent and I was now getting physically abused. He was now using hard drugs and more often. I had to get my kids and myself out to a safer place. Thankfully I had a good paying job, but to start out fresh was going to be difficult for the first couple of months. Since I had a government job, (MHMR) I only got one pay check on the first of the month. I was able to apply for temporary food stamps and was waiting for them to come in. When I got done paying for my light deposit, cable, phone hook up and deposits, I didn’t have quite enough for my first and last months rent, I was short $75.00 dollars.
I went to the elders for help and they were quick to help as they had already been informed about my situation. It was small pickens in the food department at our house. We would always say after we got done eating…”It ain’t thrilling but it’s filling” The next month came and I was able to pay all my new bills, fill up the car with gas, and I had just seventy five dollars left, either pay back the brothers or get food. Seventy five would indeed buy a months grocery’s in those days. I put the money in an envelope and brought it to the meeting on Sunday. After the meeting I handed the envelope to Joe an elder in our hall, he’s the one I went to for the asking in the first place. Before he took it he asked me, “Are you sure you don’t need it for a little longer?” I hesitated for a moment, at home I had just two hot dogs and one can of corn and that was it! So going through my mind loud and clear was, yes I need it, I need food !! But I just pushed the envelope in his hand and thanked him saying we were fine, please take it while I have it.
When I got home I sliced up the hot dogs in small pieces and fried them in oil, then mixed them up with the corn. I set the bowl on the table and said to my three children, this is temporary, you know things will get better so lets pray now. My dear kids never said a word of complaint, they bowed their heads and I started the prayer, dear Jehovah, thank you for this food we are about to eat, just then a knock on the door. David opened the door and Desmond, the son of a friend of mine was standing their. I said, come in and he said, “I can’t, mama wants to see you.” I said, tell her to come on up, and he said, “I can’t, she wants you to go down to her”. Right away I thought something must be wrong as I and all four kids rushed down the two flights of stairs. When I got to the bottom their she was with her big station wagon backed right up to the sidewalk and the back of it was down. The whole back of that car was filled with bags of food. Everyone just kept going up and down the two flights of stairs carrying bags of food. I thanked her and she left right away. She wouldn’t come in, she just jumped in the car and took off. ? We again sat back down to the table and I started the prayer over.
Dear Jehovah, thank you for this food…..I couldn’t go on, I got a lump in my throat, I looked up and my three kids were looking at me with tears in their eyes. We all then started laughing and crying at the same time. There was food in the cabinets, food in the refrigerator, food on the counter tops, and even bags of food on the floor. Again I started the prayer, THANK YOU JEHOVAH , AMEN! Needless to say, the hot dogs and corn ended up being our side dish. I have thanked Jehovah for that day and every day since then for our food, our home, and our friends, and all else he gives me every day. But today I have the opportunity, forty some odd years later to again thank my dear friend that owned the big station wagon filled with food.
Author Eileen Clark
Why Study The Bible
His Name is Aleister And He Just Walked Away
My sweet granddaughter Chelsea is an animal lover, has been since birth. When she was four, she use to have invisible rabbits that she carried around in the palms of her hands and when she wanted to let them go she would throw her hands up in the air and make a sound, “swisssh” and they’d all disappear according to her.
A couple of months ago she acquired a big sorry looking cat. She brought him home from a friends house. Every time she went their this big white and tan scruffy cat would stare at her with very green sad eyes as if saying, “help me,” so one day she finally did, she just picked him up, said good by to her friend adding, “we’ll talk about this later” and walked out the door.
He had long hair that had to be shaved off because his fur was filled with big clumps and knots. He was in bad shape, after the hair was removed cuts and bruises were exposed, the poor baby. I say bravo to my granddaughter! Chelsea’s dad brought the cat to the vets shortly after she brought him home to get him any shots he might need and to be neutered.
My granddaughter named the cat Aleister and boy is he happy playing with my cats, running and hiding under the pine trees, blackberry bushes, and the woods down below. He also loves sleeping on my porch on very hot days with the Bamboo screens down, the fans on, and the water fountain running and giving off a cool light splash every now and then landing on him. Everything a cat could wish for sweet Aleister has so I believe he is now officially our cat.
This past March my granddaughter Chelsea and her parents packed up everything and moved to Texas. I asked Chelsea to please leave Aleister with me. He already was staying on the big deck and my back porch, he loved it their ! He also enjoyed playing in the back yard around my flower beds and playing with my cats Dixie and Little Girl, he seemed to really like Little Girl. I was certain he would be happy here rather then be shipped off to a new and unknown place. He seemed to be content and settled into this new arrangement but he would not come into my house even though one night it was very cold and raining. I put a large fluffy towel on the chair that he slept in on my porch and I felt he would stay warm and be fine. He was fine and as the days began to warm up I was sure that Aleister was going to become a permanent member to my family.
Two weeks had gone by and things seemed to be going well when one day, I remember it so well because I was in my living room staring out the big picture window, when I saw Al walking on the other side of our fence. I never saw him on that side of the fence before so I just watched him walk slowly down the hill and into the deeper part of the woods. I have not seen Aleister since that day.
For at least three months I would open my porch door hoping that I would see him sitting on that chair with the towel, but days
and then months went by and the chair stayed empty. He just left, he just walked away.
Was it that he knew as he watched the boxes getting filled and piled up one on top of the other? Was it that he sat on the front steps and watched pieces of furniture being taken out of his home and being placed in this BIG truck ? Or perhaps is was because every time he went up the steps at the front of the house, the door never opened for him, and at night a light never came on and he remembers the big truck driving slowly down the road with the family car following behind it and his Chelsea was in it ? Was his heart so broken that he just walked away ?
Many months have passed on and I don’t look for Aliester first thing in the morning anymore but I’m still holding on to some hope that he will come back home.
Author Eileen Clark