Sunday, July 3, 2011

Howard Wickham

Howard Wickham was my great grandfather.   A tall and lanky individual with a congenial personality.   Everyone liked him and was his friend.   When I knew him  he was an old man.    And it seems that I remember him as always being old.    Old and wise.    He showed me how beads of water would skip around and sizzle on the cook top of his cast iron wood burning kitchen stove.    No, I am not that old.   In his golden years of retirement he surrounded himself with things from his youth.   His apartment was a museum of antique furnishings. 
He lived on the top floor and there use to be a beauty parlor on the ground floor.   He had a chair by the window which was the living room and he use to like to just sit and watch the people go by.   He lived in Philmont, New York which was a thriving town when the mills were open.   But when the mills closed, the town shrunk and stores closed.   Did you know that Oliver North was from Philmont?   Yep.
That wood burning kitchen stove was absolutely huge.   In the winter time everyone would gather in the kitchen because it was the warmest room in the house.    There was a pot-belly stove in the dining room and the living room.    There was a treadle style sewing machine.   This was not a decoration but something that he actually used for sewing.
It was here that I learned how to use a toaster with flip sides.  
You would toast the toast on one side, flip the doors down, turn the toast over, and then toast the other side.
Yeah, you’re right, the toast usually got burnt and then there would be the grating sound of my mother scraping off the burnt surface of the toast with a butter knife.    I could just go on and on about all of the antiques that he had.    The relatives offered to get him more modern items but he insisted that he preferred the things from his youth.  He seemed to be more comfortable with those antiques and perhaps they brought back a lot of memories for him or allowed him to revisit and live in his past when he was younger.
And now that I am retired, I too, like my great grandfather think of those things from my youth and try to acquire some of them out of nostalgia.   My current search is for a dictionary.   Webster’s Dictionary for Boys and Girls.

Strange as it may seem, I absolutely loved this dictionary because it had lots of drawings pictures in it and it was easy to use.  I would slowly leaf through the pages looking at the illustrations and reading the definition of what was being illustrated.   I kept my copy for a long time.   And then one day it was gone.   Now I would like to replace it.   As a reminder from the past.    Yeah, I like going to antique shows and stores.   As I browse through the antiques I can be heard to say “I had one of those when I was young.   How much does it cost?   I should have kept it.”   I am also fascinated with marbles.
Hey, hey there.   None of that now!   I haven’t lost my marbles.   Well, I guess that I have, but the glass ones.   Not the ones that you think.   With that I will wrap-up this blog.   Today, recall a memory from the past.   A pleasant memory, and see how good it makes you feel inside.    Lew    

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