Anyone remember those?
Of course you do.
Way back in those "Days of Yore", young women learned at any early age how to screw up their noses, squint their little eyes, and stab their little fingers, while stitching away laboriously at cotton or linen items for their "Hope Chest".
Antimacassars, doilies, table napkins, silk handkerchiefs, nightgowns, all were hemmed by hand and embroidered, some daintily, others heavily covered in hand stitched designs, then packed away in a large trunk or chest or some other kind of cabinet, waiting for the day when these girls would marry and use these lovingly (?) prepared items in their own homes.
I had never given any thought to getting married, certainly not to collecting stuff to furnish a home, but when I was sixteen I went to live with my mother, whose one mission in life seemed to be getting me safely married off.
She began giving me gifts at Christmas and birthdays that would go into my "Hope Chest".
Keep an eye on the younger kids (step siblings) for a day?
Rewarded with teatowels.
Bath towels, hand towels, face washers, either individual items or matched sets, dish towels, sheets and pillow cases, even a bedspread one year for Christmas.
She encouraged me to spend a little of my wages each week to buy something for my future home.
(Geez, I'd only been there three months and she wanted me to move out already?)
So I bought a kitchen utensil set, a set of knives, a set of saucepans, some wooden spoons.
As far as I could see, that would do. I had sheets, towels, (almost enough to stock the linen department at Myer), saucepans. What more could I possibly want?
Yes, ignorance was my middle name.
Then at work one day, I was listening in at lunch while a girl about my age was telling us about everything she had collected and the latest addition to her Hope Chest. A sturdy set of machine-bottomed saucepans. (Huh? What? A pan is a pan is a pan, right?)
She'd been working almost three years and had begun collecting items from the very first pay packet. Her bedroom was stacked full from floor to ceiling and she had boxes of things lining one side of her parents hallway. Half the backyard shed was filled with her stuff. (I wondered where she put herself at night). She had enough of everything to last her at least 10 years of marriage. Including canned foods, toilet paper, even baby clothes and nappies.
I was gobsmacked!
I didn't even have a boyfriend, wasn't thinking about my own future home yet.
But I went shopping the next payday and bought a half dozen teatowels.
After that I pretty much decided I'd wait until I had that future home and then buy whatever I was missing.
Later, I received a lot of useful stuff as wedding gifts, which was great.
This is all that's left.
Not like today's handles which need to be screwed in again every so often, especially on frypans.
This is the only thing I use it for now, it holds four eggs easily and since I don't use it for anyhting else, I rarely scrub it, just emptying the cooking water and giving it a quick rinse.
Even after 42 years, the machined grooves on the bottom of the pan are still not worn off, the base is completely level, except for those little dents caused by someone using the pan as a hammer for small headed nails.
Sturdy, long lasting pots, made from aluminium, which is supposed to be bad for you, but nobody knew that then.
A Quiet Moment, In the Dark
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