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Letter: Story of an old kitchen table

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 10:03 p.m. CST

To the Editor:

I recently dined at the same old kitchen table that my parents bought when they first married around 1920.  When they died, we broke up their home, and my son inherited that table. It’s not remarkable, but to me, it’s a family heirloom.  

The table’s beautiful wood grain was revealed when one of my brothers refinished it years ago.  Under the table, a center post with a board across the top of it, braced the extra leaves my mother added when we had guests on rare occasions.   

That board was our secret place to stash bread crusts from her homemade bread that we did not appreciate at the time. When our mother found them as she scrubbed the kitchen floor on her hands and knees each Saturday, we’d receive a stern lecture. I can almost hear her voice now. 

Today, she would be amazed at all the modern conveniences my son and daughter have in their homes. There were no prepared foods back then that would have aided her as she prepared meals on a very limited income for the six of us.

I found myself thinking “if this table could talk… .”

I tried to conjure up past conversations we might have had as we all gathered around that table each meal.  

There was no television or radio to lure us into a family room.  Our kitchen was our family room. Grades in school were often the topic after one of us said grace. Bullies have always been with us and that could have been one topic. We were always told to turn the other cheek.

I wanted to ask, “What if I run out of cheeks?” But I know that would not have gone over very well. I’d have been scolded for sassing.

Don’t interpret this as a sob story. Many people lived as we did back then. Poverty is sort of like a communicable disease you don’t talk about while you have it … only after you’re over it.

Before Mother’s Day, we’d ask her what gift she’d like. Her answer was always the same.  

“I don’t need anything, just be good.”

Now, when my son and daughter ask me that same question, my answer is the same as my mother’s.  

If you still have your mother, ask her what she’d like. I bet that’s all she would ask as well.  Mothers are like that.  

Happy Mother’s Day.

Mil Misic

DeKalb

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