Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stories Mom Told Me: Part 3, Pots and pans

Here's what I'm doing with this little project, copied from the longer explanation on the Part 1 post:
I'll share some more stories Mom told me. You see I call Mom almost every morning and we do go on about family history. I keep notes on what she tells me in spiral notebooks. Now I have three fat ones brimming over with what Mom knows. Sometimes it's just a detail about our ancestors, a small event, or a note about what happened to whom and when. It's the kind of stuff that can easily get lost if a person doesn't write it down then and there.

So today's story is about pots and pans. This is a rather short one but it gave me a different picture into a time past so I'd like to share it with you.

Pots and pans

One fine morning back in June of this year I was talking to Mom by phone and the subject was cooking and kitchen stuff. I think that after our all-time favorite subject of family history, our second most favorite subject is food. You see, Mom always did love to cook and I think that we were possibly the only family in our suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, that ate French food even though we were far from French.

Mom was fearless in the kitchen and her favorite person, possibly of all times, was Julia Child, and when I look at Mom's cook book shelves, her "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" is the most worn by far. As a matter of fact, I spent a goodly portion of my first grown-up pay check buying Mom "Larousse Gastronomique," that unparalleled resource for French cooking.

So if Mom was so high minded about her cooking, did she use some of the oldest pots and pans I've even seen?! Now, Mom, you know I love you, but really? Where did you get those really old pots and pans? I didn't know, so back in June I asked her.

During WWII, metal was used for the war effort. During this time, if you were setting up house as my parents were, the best you could do was to beg some cookery from relatives. New pots and pans were just not available. Too bad, you newly weds!

Just at the end of the war all manner of stuff became available again. The boys were back and they all wanted and needed jobs too, so that their wives could buy those things that were so scarce during the war. The new post-war economy was being born.

Dad's brother, Bernie, had met and married a lovely Boston lass right at the end of the war. Ruth Mullaney came from an Irish family too so she fit right into the madness that was the Kelly family and all six siblings. The commotion in Grandma Kelly's kitchen didn't phase her one bit. She was a beauty too, and everyone loved her right off.

Ruth and Mom became fast friends: two young brides making homes after the war. Ruth had a brother, Bill. After he left the service at the end of the war, and for a period of time, he sold pots and pans, sort of door to door. Both Ruth and Mom bought a full set from Bill, of course.

There were three pots and two skillets and lids for each. The set cost $40 and that was a lot of money then. But they were brand new! A treasure.

Bottom line, Mom still has them and uses them all the time, and has done so for the last 70 years! How many family meals have been cooked on them, I can't even begin to calculate. But it has averaged out to 57 cents a year:) Good bargain, Mom!


Two of the three brothers, off to war:
John Delbert Kelly (1920-2013), Dad, Francis Patrick Kelly (1916-2007), and Bernard Michael Kelly (1918-2007). Dad stayed home because of physical issues.

Bernie on leave after basic training.
Mom and Bernie contribute to the War effort.

Mom must have taken this picture because she's the one missing! Back row: Dad, Grandma and Grandpop Kelly, Bernie and Ruth who was expecting Cousin Cynthia.
Cousin Mike and I ham it up for the camera.
Holiday fun: Bernie, Ruth, Aunt Louise, and Uncle Harry.
Can you tell this is one of those old Polaroid pictures?!

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