Yesterday while journaling I found myself whining again about time, and my perceived lack thereof. Between work and chores, a project Linda and I are working on, which I'll wait to write about until after a critical meeting this morning that will likely decide the fate of the project for this year (we'll do it, some how, some way, but today's meeting will determine to what extent), and assorted stuff, time seems ever more the enemy.
I finished journalling for the day and sat down at my desk to write...not for the book I've actually dared to begin--finally--but this post....it's words, thoughts, creativity, and a good place to warm-up those writing muscles. It's writing and that's good. ANYWAY, I tore off the previous day's calendar page and was greeted by this:
And this past week I took on another project. In looking for a practical way to expand our kitchen storage, we stumbled upon this in a small, hole-in-the-wall shop:
I'm pretty sure it dates back to 1917-1930 based on internet research, but I have a book coming that should give me more info.These cabinets were designed to make life easier for womyn, and sometimes, when opening one of the latches, I touch the cool, worn chrome and wonder about the womon who first owned this. I found a store's ad for one, dating to 1930...it was "$49.95, $1 down and $1 a week", which in 1930 was alot of money. A couple of nifty websites tell me that $49.95 in 1930 would be $681.91 today, and that $1 a week was the equivalent of $13.65 today. So who was the womon who wanted this MacDougall? Is she the one who glued the patterned tissue paper to those four tiny windows, or did someone else do that? Was she excited to have a hoosier-style cabinet? Did it make her life easier? The ads for MacDougall cabinets were somewhat daring and different; while other cabinet makers' ads showed aproned womyn serenely rolling pie crust and preparing dinner in this one-stop workspace, one MacDougall ad showed the cabinet with no person in front of it, just a stool with an apron draped over it...to hint that it had saved the womon so much time she was able to go off and do...something...else with that newly found time. Another ad shows a man at a desk with a MacDougall behind him, saying something like, if a man worked in the kitchen, the MacDougall would be the cabinet he would choose.
But the first womon who owned this particular cabinet (henceforth to be called a cupboard because cabinet sounds so...harsh)....was she excited about it? Was it a wedding present? Did she smile when she walked in the kitchen and saw it? What did she dream about as she prepared food for her family? And how did it end up in Time Machine Antique Collective in Ravena, NY, definitely worse for the wear, stripped of its proud MacDougall metal tag, missing its flour bin and bread drawer, with a broken floor? Who amputated those parts and why? How many people have brought it home since that first womon first laid her palm on the cool enameled worktop, fingered those latches, stocked it with her mixing bowls and rolling pins, filled the flour bin with silky white flour that puffed clouds in the air as it was being poured into the bin?
I may be disturbingly attached to the MacDougall, but some of that is about who came before....about the life it had over the last 80+ years, because it wasn't just a decorative piece; it wasn't just an end table or a vase. It was once a workhorse, with a real purpose. We'll paint the MacDougall, remove the paper from those little windows, and slowly bring it back to something resembling its youth, while also returning it to the workforce. Already big jars of Linda's bees' honey are lined up on top next to the stand mixer. Appliances, utensils and a big jar of red lentils are tucked away, and we've already made use of having an extra work surface. To me, the MacDougall isn't just another pretty, if timeworn, face....she's a story waiting to be read.