I have a lot of memories associated with my grandparents’ house. I remember sitting, in my church clothes on Sundays, on their copper penny-colored couch and tracing the pattern on the couch upholstery with my fingertips. (I think that may be where my life-long love of damask began.) I remember the giant keyholes in their doors, and just like in the movies, you could spy on people by peering through them. I remember watching endlessly for the cookoo bird to come out of the clock and cookoo…the thrill of any Sunday! I remember the glycerin soap in the bathroom. I remember fingering the pretty silver mirror on my great-grandmother’s dressing table. (The mirror, dressing table, and cookoo clock are all treasures in our home now.) I remember great fun with my dad and Gramps and a pellet gun, shooting tin cans. I remember the heavenly scent of orange blossoms, as their home was surrounded by orange groves. I rememeber the scary black fan that sat on the living room floor (with only two thin blade guards) and whirred and whirred to keep us cool on hot Sundays. I remember being afraid, when my Grandma hugged me, that I would get stuck by the straight pins that pinned her apron bodice to her dress. (I never got stuck, but I worried about it each time.) I remember the brown ceramic cookie jar filled (hopefully!) with my Grandma’s chocolate cookies. I remember big Sunday dinners. I remember Waldorf salad. I remember the scary oil furnace that sat directly behind my chair at the dining table, and whose flames could be seen flickering brightly through the glass of its port hole-like opening. I remember the sound of avocados hitting the roof from the huge avocado tree next to the house. I remember the pink camelias that grew on either side of the front porch. I remember helping wash silverware…people were dishwashers then! And I remember the delightful smell of leather that hung in the air, wafting from my Gramps’ leather shop.
But one of my favorite memories is of the pantry! My Grandma had a walk-in pantry. I’m sure I can’t recall with any clarity the size of it, but it seems that it might’ve been about 5-feet square. It had a small window up high on the back wall, and the walls were surrounded with shelves. I remember crocks sitting about on the floor. And I distinctly remember always peering to see the mouse traps that were nestled behind the crocks…always dreading the possibility of finding a dead mouse in one. Never did. One of the benefits to me of helping dry the silverware or helping with dinner was the opportunity it afforded to go stand in the pantry for a few moments when I wasn’t needed. I loved to just stand there. Just stand there and look at all the food on the shelves. It all looked so tidy and clean and thoughtful.
My life-long love of pantries began there, on Sundays.