Tri-Counties Genealogy &
History by Joyce M. Tice
Now My Idea is This
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Joyce's Search Tip - November 2008
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NOW MY IDEA IS THIS
[Author and date not given - typed from a scrapbook]
Sorry, folks, to mislead you. Through a typographical error the column
yesterday told about a "kitchen" we would like to give away. If we could
guarantee as many answers to all ads as we got to that, we wouldn’t have
to worry over business. Must be that kitchens still are in pretty good
demand even if the public eating places do seem to be doing so well.
One woman called and said if it was an electric one to send it right
over; it was just what she had been wanting. Another wasn’t so particular
that way; just asked about the color.
What we intended the column to say was "kitten". We wouldn’t give away
our kitchen for anything. We might be willing to part with the parlor or
the spare bedroom, but never the kitchen. If we didn’t have that there
wouldn’t be any place left to sit down and read and chew apples and popcorn
and place your feet on the stove on cold winter nights. (Doesn’t that "cold"
Radiators are nice and they warm up the house just as well or better
than the old stoves but still and all when the frigid winds are howling
outside, snowflakes falling and the Weather Man raising hob in general,
there’s nothing quite like pulling a chair up alongside a friendly fire
for real comfort and enjoyment.
Maybe it’s because we’re a little old fashioned but we still look back
with pleasure to our boyhood when there was a huge self-feeder stove in
the sitting room at home. It had isinglass widows on three sides through
which the fire could be watched. As youngsters we used to sit around it
by the hour on winter nights, often times with the lights out, and there
told stories, discussed the day’s happenings, played "talking" games, and
imagined seeing all sorts of things formed by smoke on the isinglass just
as kids sometimes study cloud formations in the sky.
Just before going to bed, dad would fill the self-feeder with several
buckets of coal and we would pull ourselves away and go upstairs where
the only help toward keeping warm was a soapstone or flatiron wrapped in
cloth. How we did cuddle up to them when we first crawled in between the
sheets! Then morning. It wasn’t light yet when we had to pile out. The
sun hadn’t warmed things up a bit. Windows open for ventilation hadn’t
helped to keep the clothes hanging on chairs near the bed from getting
icy. Under such circumstances starting the day was no gradual process.
With one movement we threw back the quilts, and landed our bare feet on
the floor. Another moment and we had slid into slippers, grabbed our clothes
and gone downstairs in about two jumps. There we were greeted by that friendly
old stove with the isinglass widows, which seemed like so many sparkling,
cheerful eyes peering at you through the gray light of dawn. They seemed
to say: "Don’t mind the cold; come close and we’ll warm you up."
So we would hold our clothes by the side of the stove for a few moments
and then slip them on, all the time standing just as close as possible
to the fire. By the time we were through the goosepimples had disappeared
and we were ready to dig into a pile of thin, brown buckwheat cakes drowned
in maple syrup.
Yes, we like radiators. They are cleaner than stoves – possibly a little
more decorative, and they don’t take up so much room. There’s no doubt
they are an improvement in many ways. But just the same, a youngster brought
up on radiators with no heating stove in the house has missed something
real. No radiator ever made can have the appeal of a genuine fire in one
of those old-fashioned self-feeders. Progress? Yes, but hang it all, we
can’t help feeling a little glad that we lived a while before a lot of
this progress was made. – UNCLE NICK