A Haven for Vee

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Kitchen Table Story

Do you remember your grandmothers' kitchens? I well remember both.

Oddly enough, they were both large, square rooms where the kitchen table sat prominently center stage. In my maternal grandmother's kitchen, her dryer, refrigerator, pantry, sink, countertop, electric stove, gas stove, and Hoosier lined the walls.

In my paternal grandmother's, the countertops, sink, refrigerator, stove, sofa, and woodstove lined the walls. Yes, a sofa! I thought that it was the most marvelous thing, even as a child. Sometimes, my grandfather would lie there and snooze as my grandmother puttered about making supper. Sometimes, it was loaded with grandkids as we colored or read books. Sometimes, we were all there together in a happy clump. That kitchen was so warm with its woodstove chugging along. It had a huge reservoir of water on the side that met all the requirements of hot water for doing dishes. There was a big blue kettle that whistled along steadily always ready for a cup of tea or hot chocolate. It was in that kitchen where I first enjoyed marshmallow fluff floating on a sea of warm chocolate.

At the windows were my grandmother's red geraniums that did so beautifully all through the year...such a sunny, bright, warm kitchen it was. But I don't remember the table so well after all these years...I think it was a wooden farm table and large to accomodate all the extended family.

Now my Nan's table I remember very clearly. It was purchased in the first few years of her marriage somewhere in the early '30s. I now recognize it as "Art Deco" though as a child all I recognized were the cold white enamel top and the strong black parallel lines that decorated it, which I often traced with my finger. It has a drawer that my grandmother used for her silverware drawer. For some reason I found it particularly fun to set the table without having to fetch the forks, knives, and spoons.

One day, when I was about ten or so, I discovered that my grandmother had replaced her little table with a new one. Nothing fancy...a wood grain look top and those plastic stuffed chairs...all a neutral brown. The Art Deco table was relegated to the back corner of my grandfather's garage.

Fast forward thirty-five years or so when I was helping to clean out my grandmother's home. There sat the little table still in its corner barely visible for the oil containers, tools, and garden products covering it. It was decided that it would work well for a laundry table in one of the great-grands' homes, but it never made it that far. It sits today in my kitchen...dead center. If anyone had ever told me that I would one day claim that table and love it again, I probably would not have believed them.

It needs something...see the aqua paint. Not a favorite color for me. I think a red, perhaps yellow, might work. The original color is unknown...I do not remember and neither does my mother or grandmother. Anyone else know what it might have been?

All manner of things can be tucked beneath it...my sandals, a pie carrier, a bucket of bottled water. It serves as an island and not a place to sit down. What would I do without it?!


  1. Good Morning Vee,

    A cherished story you've shared. Yes, I remember my grandmother's farm table, she passed away one month after I was born but it lived on in her farm house and was passed on to my Mother who now uses it every day.

    Have a glorious weekend
    Kathi :)

  2. I also remember both grandmother's kitchen tables. How odd that they made such a lasting impression.

    My best friend's parents, had a table like the one you just inherited. They had a tiny kitchen, and theirs was a tiny table. When the five of them ate dinner, they had to pull the table away from the wall, thus blocking the door.

    Tables really do leave an impression!

    Nice post.

  3. Oh Vee, I think you might have MY grandmother's table in your kitchen. I can picture my "Beepa" sitting at the far end with his coffee. I still have the Davy Crockett mug my grandmother gave me to use each time I sat down to have milk and cookies. The kitchen smelled like propane and nicotine and freshly baked cookies. The table was very much like your own and brings back warm memories. What a lovely story today! Thanks for sharing it. ~Kathy

  4. It's wonderful that you have such great memories, so detailed too. Sometimes, it seems it's the little things that stay with us forever.

    By the way, come on over when you have a minute. I have a little something for you... :)

  5. Hey Vee - such a nice memory. I remember my grandmothers' tables, too. I really like yours and I love the aqua paint. My mom has an old black wicker rocker that my Nan had and I'm anxiously waiting for it. I asked my mom one time if I could have it, and she said "not til I'm gone!" She said she rocked her baby-dolls in it for many miles when she was little and she was going to keep it. So... I'll have to wait.

    I loved my Nan's table. When it wasn't being used for home-made chicken'n'dumplings and red velvet cake on Sundays, it held the salt/pepper shakers, and all of Nan's Bible study stuff. Lovely memories!

    Have a great weekend!

  6. Loved your story...brought back memories of my own grandma's tables! If you are going to change the color, I vote for RED! What a treasure and memory for you to enjoy each day. I say copy today's post and tape it to the underside of the table!

  7. Oh, what a gorgeous story Vee, and you made me laugh and smile several times. I am even sending this to my boyfriend who is very fond of stories like this because he adores his grandma and their old farm house.

    I liked where you talk about the sofa in the kitchen. My maternal grandparents' house was like that - a sofa and a wood stove in a big kitchen which was originally a living room. They closed off the "old kitchen" years before as it was an old wing of the house.

    Anyway, I love that part about everyone piled on the couch in a happy clump. Too sweet. And familiar!

    Love that art deco table. There was one like that in my grandma's house too, once chrome came into style. Love it. Yes, something bright like red would be gorgeous!

    xo Terri

  8. I liked the couch in the kitchen. I can just see it in my mind...It must have been wonderful!

    I've seen that table somewhere before....very cool!

  9. What a great story and a great ending knowing that you have that wonderful table!

  10. That was a precious memory and so similar to mine. It was my aunt's art deco table stuck in the middle of her big kitchen, were the whole large Italian family gathered...
    Thanks for the reminder. I think it is so wonderful that you have that table.

    hmmm sofa in the kitchen, now that does sound cozy

  11. Oh Vee, I love this post! I too have my Grandma's first kitchen table. It was the 1st piece of furniture that they bought when they married in the late 20's. It's wood with drop leafs on both sides, one leaf has fallen off but I still have it. It has endured many paint jobs, it now a chippy black, waiting for me to find the time to love it. My best childhood memories were in her house, she is now 101 and counting! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Vee, I love the table, my daughter by love has a very similar enameled table that was her grandmothers. . .a very precious possession for her. . .Her legs are wood and the table top is yellow with flowers in the corner. It is in her laundry room...

  13. Came downstairs for another cup of tea and to sneak in a few blogs :-)

    Only my maternal grandmother was still alive when I was born and I loved our trips to her house in eastern Pennsylvania every summer. She didn't speak English - she spoke Ukrainian! I loved her old Victorian house with all the little porches outside and her dirt root cellar under the house, and the big black wrought iron wood stove in her kitchen. She always had a big pot of soup bubbling on top and something baking in the oven. She had a big garden which to this city girl was a "farm" and she a chicken coop with lots of chickens. I never understood why I couldn't play with the chickens and make them pets -- lol.
    I would have loved to have something from her house but all I have is my memories. She died on my 16 birthday.
    I'm glad you have your Nan's table and even more importantly that you still have your Nan! I would love to be able to ask my grandmother more about her life, andabout her coming to America at 19 all by herself through Ellis Island.

    I will have to do a blog about her someday.

    Have a good weekend! Hugs, Pat

  14. My gramma had a porcelan table that was white and in the corners and down the middle it was blue. I used to set little cars and boats on her table and play with them. Gramma of course joined in too.

    My huband's grandma had a med size round wooden table and there always seemed to be room for one more chair. We had such fun times in that kitchen. His family welcomed me with open arms and I always felt more at home there than with my own family.

    I've seen tables like yours and a lot of times it's been red.

  15. How precious. Your storytelling transported me this morning. This really took me back to my grandmothers' kitchens and particularly their tables. I can remember an Art Deco style table in my dad's mother's kitchen... red top with ribbed chrome skirt/rim. The chairs were chrome with shiny red backs and bottoms. I loved that table! I can't remember what happened to it, although I know it was many years ago that its place was taken by a wooden table. I miss that table. I am so glad for you that you got your grandmother's.

    Love you,

  16. My mom's kitchen table from the 50's was a great yellow formica beauty with the chrome legs and side trim. It had matching chairs and I wish I had the foresight to snag it when she sold it for $10 to a friend of mine MANY years ago!! You are so fortunate to have your grandmother's table!

  17. Omigosh, I'm so insanely in love with those tables! I see them at the resale shops occasionally and try to figure out how to work them into my decor. I think I'm going to buy one and use it as my cutting/working table in my sewing room.

    I still remember my grandmothers kitchen. Did you see the movie, "A Christmas Story"? Yep...that was her kitchen, and the interior of the house was her house!! I love that movie especially the bathroom.


  18. Yes, I remember my grandmother's kitchen. It makes me smile just to think of it now. My brother was the one to claim her kitchen table and he was only 18 at the time. And he still has that table all these years later.

  19. Oh I love that table! Thank you for sharing your wonderful table memories. I remember my grandmothers tables too. Funny how a piece of furniture can play such an important role in the memory. It looks like yours is loved very much.

  20. Such wonderful memories! A favorite little cafe of ours is furnished with all different porcelain-topped tables like this one. Love it! Did you ever repaint the aqua trim?

    1. I painted one end red. That was when my daughter told me that I had to stop. It wouldn't be the same if I painted it out. Now she has no memory of that table other than it being in my kitchen so her strong feelings about it came as a surprise. This table now lives in my sewing room where I use it as my cutting table with a cutting mat to protect it, of course.

      You are so good about visiting old posts and commenting. But I never find them when you do...takes me awhile to figure it out. I am figuring this out via Pinterest.


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