Around 1974, I went with a friend to visit her great-aunt and great-uncle in Lockport, New York. We polished silver for them and were then served a huge meal, a rare treat in those years (the home-cooked meal, not the silver polishing).
The couple had been married more than 50 years. After lunch, she wouldn’t let us help with the dishes. He cleared the table and got to work at the sink. I was impressed with this liberated couple and said so. He laughed and she explained:
“Our first night as husband and wife, I cooked a nice dinner. He ate, went into the front parlour, lit up his pipe, and opened the newspaper. So, I threw everything, even our new wedding China, out the kitchen window into the driveway.”
“I’ve done the dishes ever since,” he laughed.
|PART OF A WEDDING GIFT TO MY PARENTS, 1947.|
The Dowager Duchess
The night before my mother’s apartment was emptied in late August, San Geraldo cooked our “last supper.” My parents had received a set of pots and pans as a wedding gift. Over the years, most of them developed bell-shaped bottoms that did not sit flat on any surface. Last year, my mother told me she hated those pots and pans.
“They were cheap and I never liked them,” she said.
“So, why didn’t you just replace them?” I asked.
“I didn’t want to insult [the person who gave them to her] and by the time she died [only a few years ago], I thought, ‘What’s the point? I never cook anymore anyway.’ “
A Dream Come True
My fantasy ever since I met my friend’s aunt and uncle has been to finish a meal and simply throw everything away instead of washing up.
So, after our last supper, I cleared the table and washed the dishes (they were part of a very nice set, after all). However, I took the three dirty pans (and only those three pans) and threw them down the compactor chute. (Throwing them out the 16th-floor kitchen window could have been deadly.)
The Dowager Duchess would have liked that.
|LENOX CHINA DISH GIVEN BY THE SAME PERSON IN THE EARLY ’70s.
THE DUCHESS REGULARLY COMPLAINED, “I HATE LENOX!” BUT DISPLAYED IT FOR 40+ YEARS.
(IT WAS ONLY MEANT TO SERVE CORN AND COULD HAVE BEEN PUT AWAY SOMEWHERE.)