Monday, July 14, 2014


I've been away all weekend at a belated memorial service for my friend, who passed away last October.  I told the story about our ill-fated trip to Harris Teeter (among other things), and made everybody laugh.  It felt awesome.

We all had a lot of fun.  Is that so wrong?

Anyway, we had brunch the next day at her daughter's house, a cute dwelling built back in 1931.  I was happy until I walked into the kitchen, where I saw the stove.  THIS stove:

Look at the dials - looks like an H.A. Rey drawing of a stove

"Wow," I said to her husband.  "I didn't think they made that kind of stove anymore."

"They don't," he said. "That's the original stove. It came with the house."

People, I was looking at a stove from 1931 that still worked. It was 83 YEARS OLD.  Those of you who are long-time readers can understand my angst, can't you?  Remember the crappy stove from 1983 that came with our house, that I finally had to put out of its misery?  Remember the almost-new CraigsList stove we now own, the one whose oven insists on turning itself off at random?

Yet these people were sitting there using an 83-year-old stove.  It just...rankles.  What's so special about them?  How come they don't kill every stove they come in contact with?  Do I unknowingly bear an appliance curse?  These are the thoughts that went through my head as I stared at this particular appliance that should, by logic, be in a museum, not a suburban NY kitchen.

"Can I take a picture?" I asked.

"What?" asked my startled host. "Um, sure.  But why?"

Was there any good answer for that?  Could I possibly explain to him that I needed to share this stove with you all, because you'd understand just how unfair this all is?  I guessed that he didn't want to stand there and be regaled with all my tales of appliance woe, so I mumbled something about wanting to show it to Larry as I positioned my IPad for the shot.  Then he and his wife showed me all the stove's neat features: a soup well, a stove-top broiler, the plate-warming device behind that little door to the right.

Salt in a wound, my friends, it was like salt in a wound.  They truly have no idea...


  1. Ouch! Did you get a look at their washing machine? Maybe it was an 83 year old wringer-washer to make you feel better.

  2. They just don't make things like they used to. We need a whole new toilet seat. We bought the last one like 10 years ago. I'm pretty sure my parents have never changed a toilet seat out.

  3. I had a 1940s O'Keefe & Merritt range in our (1925-built) house. It worked perfectly. I wish I took it with us when we sold the house. :-(

    I'm kind of remembering an old blog post of yours in which you asked us to name your broken appliances? Or something. You do have fun with appliances, huh? I think I came up with the Sylvia Plath oven.

    1. You have a great memory! That was the Appliance Poetry Slam, inspired by the death of my KitchenAid dishwasher. Hard to believe that was over 5 years ago!

  4. AnonymousJuly 14, 2014

    You are KIDDING. Okay, they must only use a microwave...or eat only take out. That is UNBELIEVABLE!

  5. Actually, the house I rented in college had a rather similar stove. Of course many really old appliances are still alive, while each generation of newer ones has shorter and shorter lifespans. Even worse, small appliances like coffeemakers and toasters now have the life expectancy of a mayfly.

  6. I totally understand. I kill car tires and vacuums with an efficiency that boggles the mind.

  7. I totally covet that stove! If I saw it on Craigslist, I would buy it in a second. We had a 1950's-era stove in one of our early apartments. It worked great. I guess it's true that they don't make them like they used to. My old Maytag washer lasted for 18 years. The shiny new LG one we bought three years ago is already causing problems.

  8. If he only knew about your luck with stoves, he might have worried that taking a picture might jinx them! (Kidding.) (Sort of.)
    A soup well is now on my wish-list.

  9. That is a great stove for sure. I'm not sure even that stove could withstand your appliance curse though . . .