Warmth — both real and heartfelt September 22, 2012
As the days become shorter and the mornings cooler, I begin thinking about warmth and where I found it before a simple touch of a button took care of the chills.
One of the first thoughts that come to mind is life in a small three-room farmhouse that had, as its only warmth, a square kerosene heater complete with an isinglass peephole, sitting beside the bunk beds in the corner of the living room where my brother and I slept on bunk beds. Other than the cook stove in the kitchen, the heater was the only source of warmth. I remember having the chicken pox one cold winter day and my brother giving up the bottom berth of the bunk bed so that I had a warm place for my poxes to break out.
Another source of warmth were the heavy quilts my mother made that kept me snug as a bug on the coldest of days when Jack Frost painted his frosty etchings on window panes. How brave we had to be to leave that comfort on cold winter mornings.
When thinking of warmth one can’t forget the emotional talks around the kitchen table and the smell of chicken noodle soup simmering on the coal stove. Opening a can of Campbell’s doesn’t have the same effect.
While warmth came from the brown stove in the corner of the living room and soup simmering, it also was present on Saturday mornings when scrubbing the kitchen floor while listening to “Lets Pretend.” I was careful to start this task at 10 a.m. and finished in half an hour, the exact time for the program to begin and end.
I’ve long forgotten the subject matter of “Let’s Pretend,” but not the discussions my mother and I had while cleaning the rest of the house together. It was here she talked of her childhood, how she met my dad, the deaths of young brothers and sisters, her feelings when my brother and I were born and the value of a good reputation.
These are the times where morals are set, family roots are firmly entrenched and memories are made. I wonder where the warm places are for our children and grandchildren.
Joyce Ore writes delightful stories about life with a dose of humor and sprinkle of nostalgia. Her column appears Saturday in the Tribune.