My mother-in-law, Helen, handed me an old canning jar during one of our trips to pick up more stuff for a garage sale we are preparing for. She said I might be able to sell it. Emily, standing on my other side, said, "Mom, that would look good in your kitchen". She knows me very well! It's now sitting in my kitchen window with it's glass lid clamped down tight and proudly displaying it's logo, "Ball". According to the Internet, it was made in the early 1930's.
I like how it looks, but even more, I like how it makes me feel when I look at it. This jar would have been in kitchens when my mom was a little girl. She would have watched and helped my grandmother and her sisters can all sorts of things in jars like this one.
I look at it and immediately smell dill or vinegar or tangy apple or sweet preserves. I see sunny windows in Aunt Ella's farm kitchen near Kingman, Kansas. This is the same kitchen my grandmother helped her mother in when she was growing up and my mom visited and cooked in during her childhood. Embroidered dishtowels hold clean jars ready for some yummy food that is being prepared by skilled hands. Steam is rolling above tall, well used pots on Aunt Ella's gas stove. There is talk and laughter as sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, daughters, cousins and granddaughters all find a way to be a part of the process of preserving fresh food and fond memories.
Without all of the sensory input of those days, the memory might be buried deep in my mind forever. There is no chance of that happening, considering the activity of the day.
One small object, like my canning jar, opens a portal into my past that allows me to experience again the love and rich heritage I share with so many special people.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone, which is a very advanced skill considering the keyboard I'm working on! :)
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I sat down with 2nd cousin Glenna and her mom, Donna Mae, last night to put names on some pictures I had come across a while back. Donna Mae hurt both of her ankles last week and is sitting in a wheelchair while she heals. I know its wrong to take advantage of a situation but right now she can't run away very easy so I had her captive for a few hours. Very mean, I know, but necessary! Actually, the 3 of us had a great time looking, guessing, arguing and writing the names of people in pictures that are only 15 or 20 years old.
Even pictures that new, relatively speaking, proved to be a challenge. If I am studying a picture that is 80 years old, imagine the difficulty! Take the picture above. At one time it was so newly taken that anyone in the family would have known exactly who everyone was. How silly to write names on a picture like that! Now it is a very difficult task. Never write something like "Grandma and me" on a picture. In 80 years, your decedents will not have any idea who that refers to and it will become one of the mysterious pictures that gets set aside as unidentifiable. Do you see where it says "Great Grandmother Warnken"? This would be okay if we knew who labeled the picture but there is no clue as to the writer. I'm lucky that Henry is in the picture which would be "Great Grandfather Warnken", so this must be my Great Grand Aunt Sophia. Henry is my Great Great Grandfather but his first wife, Wilhelmina was my Great Great Grandmother. This is Henry's 2nd family after his first wife died and he had remarried her sister. This is where names REALLY help!
Still, it's a lot of fun trying to solve these mysteries.