Mandy, of The Complete Cookbook, asked about the furniture in the background of my photograph in yesterday’s post.
Our house was built in 1942 and inhabited by the same family until we bought it four years ago. The kitchen was too vile to describe and I had it completely gutted. A local carpenter built all my (freestanding) furniture to my specifications, using reclaimed oregon pine floorboards from demolished local houses.
It’s not a state-of-the-art kitchen, but it is true to the historical period of the house and it is the room where I am happiest.
Thinking about the original owners, I am reminded of a previously blogged about encounter …
When you live in the same house for 62 years, it is inevitable that mail will continue to arrive long after you move away, despite the best efforts to let everyone have your new address.
So it was with Mrs. S when Mr. S died and she sold this house and moved away to live with her daughter. When mail arrived here for Mrs. S, most of it was clearly junk mail and I simply threw it away, but one day there was what appeared to be a personal letter and I felt that I should try to get it to her. None of the neighbours had a contact number for her, or knew where the daughter lives; they’d never been on visiting terms with the S family.
S is an unusual surname; I found only three listings in the directory. The third one I dialed proved successful and a maid answered and asked me to hold while she fetched ‘Granny’. After a long wait, I almost dropped the receiver when an abrasive voice shouted loudly in my ear.
Oh, hello Mrs. S. My name is Cindy Taylor and we bought your old house.
I’m calling from your old house in Parkview. Are you Ida S? I’ve tried all the phone book listings for S.
THEY’RE ALL DEAD!
THE Ss, THE LOT OF THEM! WHY? WHAT DO YOU WANT WITH THEM?
Oh dear, I have some mail …
I TOLD YOU, THEY’RE DEAD, THE MALES DIED FIRST!
No Mrs. S, I said MAIL.
OH WELL, WHAT IS IT? OPEN IT!
Are you sure?
YES, MAN, OPEN IT!
I open it and it is a letter of solicitation for funds for a Jewish Orphanage, I tell her.
OH, CHUCK IT AWAY.
I will Mrs. S, thank you so much for your time.
IT’S A PLEASURE LOVEY, GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR FUNDRAISING.
Horrible, rude old thing…