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Kitchen Candid: 1984

Kitchen Candid: 1984

First of all, a belated apology to my mother for catching her with her slip showing. Despite the relatively late date, much of what we see here was already verging on the antique. The kitchen itself dates from a late-1940s remodel; the white utility table that or even earlier. Lord knows the vintage of the unenclosed rubber-bladed fan. I loved sticking my hand in it and stalling it. Oddest item is the brown cushion on the kitchen chair at left, relict of a long-gone love seat, now the province of the cat. Elsewhere, the agglomeration of stuff from over 40 years of daily family meal preparations. My brother stands in the doorway to the dining room, where shortly thereafter we gorged ourselves on my father's 82nd birthday dinner. Available light Kodacolor 1000 negative. View full size.

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Is your Brother named Will ???

I swear he is my high school English teacher from 1979 in Santa Cruz.

Me too !

Wow! That must have been SOME popular textile line! I had this same exact flooring in an apartment in 1991, in Doylestown, PA. ! Amazing!

The flooring

We had the exact same flooring in a house we rented in the 1990's. Glad to see the landlord had only the most up-to-date stuff for us!

No Sis-In-Law?

I see the frequently pictured elder brother but not the lovely sis-in-law with the long braids. Is she in the other room waiting for the salmon kitchen to yield up a birthday dinner?

If I could remember

just how much I paid for that little guy, I would gladly tell you! I think I must have gotten him in my "buy any and all 50s chefs" period on ebay, although he could have been an antique shop find, too. Just did a search for "vintage chef" on ebay. He did not show up this time. Unfortunately for me, too many other cool things that might have also been in your mom's kitchen did.

In so many ways, Shorpy is health food for my soul, but bad for my pocketbook.


I enjoy watching the house hunting programs on HGTV from time to time, and always laugh a little when some well-heeled woman dismisses a kitchen because "it doesn't have granite--I need granite!" Tterrace's mom didn't need granite, nor much counter space either, it looks like. Definitely makes me rethink any whining I've done about my little apartment kitchen-- if your mom could whip up meals for a family that probably contained many more dishes than anything I make does, I'm showing my late-20th century skewed perspective of what is necessary. I love your pics, tterrace.

My great-aunt's house also has that linoleum--can't believe how prevalent it apparently was. They must have made a killing on that stuff!

Bertolli Chef Figurine

Wow, JohansenNewman, that is the very guy. Happy to say I have him now, although a bit yellowed compared to yours. However, since that yellowing is from kitchen vapors from years of Mother's cooking, that's even better. The earliest kitchen photo I have that shows it is from 1968. I don't know where we got it; it's possible that my father got it through the grocery store he worked at. Would I be out of line asking how much you paid for yours?

White hair gene

My family shares the gene that gives us early "gray" hair. That aside, your brother seemed to age in other ways, rather rapidly, in ten years or so. From hippyish to extreme button down collar and cerebral glasses. Hey, I was about the same age in the same span, also a professional. And at dinner time, the tie and dress pants went goodbye!

[That's why they invented napkins. - Dave]

Obsolete for 50+ years

Definitely a stovetop toaster. (For power outages when one simply had to have toast?)

No granite countertop here!

I love these older pictures of the minimalist, functional kitchens where magic was made despite the lack of stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops!

May I pretty please

Poke through all the drawers and cupboards? I bet I will find a trove of 50s era treasures, many of which I probably already own after having spent way too much for them on ebay. For example, here is my own little guy who perfectly matches the one perched proudly on top of the clock.


If I remember correctly, I think that the linoleum was the among the first (and most popular) patterns that Armstrong introduced. A fixture in the house we (and friends) bought in the '60s. I think that the appliance on the bottom shelf to the right of Mom's leg is a stovetop toaster.


Funny, I remember that exact vinyl (linoleum?) flooring from the first house I lived in. I was pre-kindergarten age at the time, but I remember when it was installed and what it smelled like when new, and I remember playing on it with various toys. Of course at that age I was quite close to the floor.


Too bad scratch-and-sniff internet hasn't been invented yet, cause pound for pound, the kitchen churned out some serious home cookin' I'm sure, and my belly is grumblin'.

Expounding on a relict

relict: 2. Something that has survived; a remnant. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2000)

However, in this case my deliberate choice of this archaism was for an ironic riff on lines you might find in Victorian novels: "Mrs. Fotheringay-Phipps, relict of the late Col. Fotheringay-Phipps of the Fourth Dragoons."

Relict of a long-gone love seat?

A relict is a word that is a survivor of a form or forms that are otherwise archaic. It is was also an ancient term for a widow.

A relic is an object or a personal item of religious significance, carefully preserved with an air of veneration as a tangible memorial.

It's not Binden-Binder


[The very best ginger beer, imho: D&G (Desnoes & Geddes), from Jamaica. Intensely gingerful. Made with real ginger root and cane sugar. Very useful for making the rum drink called a Dark & Stormy. - Dave]

Your mom got it right tterrace

From your shared family history, it is apparent that your wonderful mother wanted what was best for all of her family and she managed it all without fanfare and egotism. We know she loved crosswords (brainwork), gardening (nature lover), cooking (nurturing loved ones), a nice cup of tea (coziness factor), the color salmon (all shades of pink have been found to psychologically calm people from hyperactive bi-polars to agitated criminals and they use it in child care and police custody rooms), music and comunication (the radio on the kitchen counter = every cooking mom's companion) and her tireless efforts to make her loved ones happy (I'm remembering the picture of your ninth birthday when she made you a full turkey dinner). I know your dad was also a very hard worker, non-complaining and devoted spouse and father (and car lover). You have exposed your life and family members' personalities to all of us selflessly with such honest and truthful genuine photos. If only all people could be raised as you were, what a wonderful world we might have. Bless you all, past, present and future, may your giving yourselves to others become your family tradition. You have written a book in photos that exemplifies what a family should be. Thank you.

The floor

looks really clean, except maybe for a dusting of flour around your mother's shoes. This is the kind of kitchen one can trust.

Am I right?

tterrace, I'd bet that large aluminum vessel to the left of the stove is a pressure cooker, probably a Presto brand. I prefer Mirro-Matic with its adjustable pressure-regulating weight and Cerro metal safety valve.

Oh well,

yes, now that you mention it, I can see "teacher' in brother.

I'm gleeful at the sight of the expounding gene photo! Gosh I would have loved Mother! In the vernacular of the day, What a dame!!! Once I painted my kitchen in 50s pink. Everything, including the cabinets. Then i put it on the market and had to redo everything in white. Tsk.

TTerrace, thanks for the response and for all the enjoyment you and your family memories give to us Shorpy fans.

Kitchen Candid Supplemental

In answer to Anonymous Tipster's speculations, brother was a high school English teacher and department head. Below we see graphic evidence of from whom he, and the rest of us, inherited the expounding gene.

Old Hippie Grows Up

to become stockbroker. Or maybe political activist looking though law books for loopholes as his contribution to society. Which is it, TTerrace, what did brother do with his life? He looks in mighty fine threads here, and sporting a good hairdo as well.

What has happened to this home? Did it stay in the family? Lie to me, I do not want to think of another family in this home, or enjoying that fine terrace vista.

A cook lives in this kitchen! That's why all the jumble and she knows where everythng is! My own kitchen is spotless, nothing sitting around taking up space or "handy" and you will come to my house with reservations to go out for dinner. I remember that utilitycart for it's great round knobby wheels! it was so cheesily- made it was a marvel that any weight could be put on it.


Your mother has my mother's copper measuring spoons. I may cry now.

That's cool

The fan appears to be a Samson Safe-Flex, shown on Page 72 of Witt's Field Guide to Electric Fans. No definitive dates, but probably mid-'30s to '40s.

Warm beer

must be the norm (Binden-Binder?) Also beside it a couple of large bottles of the "hard stuff." This is where? Although it could be anywhere in North America, except Mexico.

Does every guy make that shelf?

My husband and I have been dragging his old shop shelf around for the last 30 years--looks just like the one in the picture!. I believe the object on the lower shelf of the rolling cart is just a box grater. I think these cabinets are what were in my childhood home--and the "cozy" kitchen was just what most every house had that was built in the post WWII housing era. I am about to do a kitchen remodel on what is a luxuriously large and functioning kitchen compared to this one. We are a bit spoiled I think.

Changed twice since then

My mother-in-law had that same flooring when I met her in '82.

The skinny door

I had an identical door in the kitchen of my 1927 house in Detroit. It originally held a fold-out ironing board - very common in that time period, and also the source of many a gag in Tom & Jerry cartoons.


So many times you have opened your life to us on the internet. It is amazing to see this scene and apply our own family moments into it. A time of family creating and caring together surrounded by the things that we have collected and gathered over the years.

Ginger Beer

I love the ginger beer in the lower left.

Behind the shelf

Tterrace, it looks like your shelf was hung in front of a narrow door in the kitchen wall. My guess (and I'm probably wrong) is that it's a no-longer-used water heater closet. Hmmm?

Talk about juxtapositions

Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer and sensible shoes.

Just spotted it

After all these years, I just now noticed that the brown shelf at the upper left, with the books, wood recipe box and cans of tea is the only thing I ever completed in shop class at Redwood High, over 20 years before this shot was taken. Originally light mist green, my father must have subsequently re-painted it. I haven't seen it for years, no idea whatever became of it. My God. I do have the varnished wood recipe box with the fruit decal, with all my mother's hand-written recipe cards in it.

What Juxtaposition!

I see a 1970's (Radioshack?) intercom beside the door with a stove top toaster (1920's?) on the rolling cart shelf below. What a time spread of the items we see!

The kitchen reminds me of all the comfortable kitchens that I've grown up in. Thanks for sharing tterrace.

By the way, that rubber bladed fan is just like the one my grandparents bought in the late '40s for their cabin and it really hurt when I walked into it in the middle of the night.

Egg Beaters

Thank you tterrace for sharing this wonderful image. It captures yet another family moment as well sharing great detail of a typical mid 20th century American kitchen. The color palette and array of kitchen appliances and furnishings remind me so much of my youth.


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