June 21, 2009
Special edition (part 2)
Patricia Dempsey Hiscock, Class of 1956
Q: You inquired, about kitchen things that were used back when we were kids in Gander.
Note: I may get carried away and mention a few more household "artifacts" and other memories…
My maternal grandmother had a small glass dish and the top was a stainless steel cover and egg beater (all one piece). This was used at the table to hold fresh "clotted" cream and was whipped by the egg beater portion of the dish just prior to serving.
In the pantries were meat grinders, milk separaters, butter churns (yes, my great grandparents had a small family farm). There was the barrel in which salt meat was processed and kept. There were the big glass "acid" jugs or jars in which our grandparents and fathers made their home brew and then the bottle cappers required when the beer was bottled.
There were the large "biscuit cans" that biscuits were transported from their source to the stores in and then were sold in quanties as required. One of these stood in our kitchen on the floor by the stove and Mom kept her bread in it.
Our mothers wore "smocks" and a bandanna on their heads for house cleaning or an assortment of aprons when cooking or entertaining. The more formal the occasion, the fancier the apron.
Then there was the paste wax that had to be applied by hand to the hardwood floors weekly and then polished by a lead weighted, squarish or oblong sort of thing, with a good waxing cloth attached and it was pushed by a wooden handle (not all of us could afford an electric polisher in those days). After the waxing and polishing, the floors had to be "buffed" to a glossy shine by hand and often touched up by sliding over them with old woolen socks on our feet.
When at boarding school, we had to apply Varasol to the floors to remove the old wax build up before the above procedures were undertaken. Boarding school also provided us with heavy duty polishers for the vast expanses of floor and linoleum but the smaller spaces, corners and areas around the heavy antique furniture had to be done by hand. Between the Varasol and the wax smells, it's a wonder that we have any lungs left!
Let us not forget the O'Cedar mops that were a must in our home. All wax and polishing cloths as well as the O' Cedar mop had to be washed after use and no residue was to be left.
Bars of sunlight soap were a household staple for dishes, washing floors, washing hair, and washing heavily stained clothing on the washing board.
There were jelly molds, cookie and cake tins, knife rests for carving knives. Teapots and tea strainers for "live tea." No respectable household would be caught dead using tea bags . . they only held the "dregs" of good tea . . especially tea bags with strings and a little piece of cardboard on them.
There were no elelctric coffee grinders - just a box with a little drawer in it to catch the coffee when the coffee beans, which were inserted from a funnel on the top, were ground by a rotating a hand grinding mechanism.
Most homes had their own set of hair clippers and the fine tooth comb for "creatures" that were "picked up" in school and then, it was home to the delousing remedy.
Speaking of school, let us not forget those BLUE Cod Liver Oil bottles given to each child once or twice a year as a present from the Department of Health or whatever it was called then. Many, many of these bottles were deposited in the garbage out behind the school but my sisters and I knew better that do such a dastardly thing - home those bottles had to go and we had to drink every drop. I should mention here that Cod Liver Oil was another staple in our home as were many other Gerald S. Doyle health products. All as tasty as Buckley's Mixture (UUGGGGGH) which also saw its way into our refrigerator.
Next time Part III records Patricia Dempsey’s visits to her grandparents’ and great grandparents’ homes AND she will enlighten us on life around Bishop’s Falls.