Just Looking AroundSubmitted by FALLEN at 2010-04-26 14:37:00 EDT
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The aluminum storm door still creaked when it got to three quarters of the way open. I pushed it aside and stood before the wooden door, two panels on the bottom and glass up top. I noticed bits of the old copper weather seal were still tacked to the door stop, as my key turned in the deadbolts cylinder and I entered.
The kitchen was always a hub of activity when I was young. It was the first room of the house you stepped into from outside. The old vinyl still covered the floor. At one time only a four by four area was vinyl and the rest was carpeted. To this day don’t know why Dad ran carpeting in from the other rooms into the kitchen; it didn’t stay down long. There are a lot of things I don’t know about, the least of them is flooring choices made decades before. That is why I’m here. Deep in my memories to find out just where I came from to perhaps learn who I am today.
The cabinets are the same, the drawer next to the stove contained cutlery, the one to the left of it held all manner of spoons and spatulas. I sift through that drawer and find the Ginsu knife next to the orange juicer and the rotary slicer that made “wonderful spiral potatoes”. Mom could never resist the infomercials a weakness she still has to this day. Around past the sink was the junk drawer. Every kitchen has one I suppose. Inside are half used books of matches and twist ties of all colors. No mater how many were used there never seemed to be an end to them. Years later I would learn that once the paper covering was burned off, the thin wire within conducted electricity quite well, to the point of glowing like the filament of a bulb, if enough current was put through it.
The twelve inch wide wall cabinet, directly above the junk drawer belonged to my father. As I look inside now, I see nothing; its contents held no importance to me life so they have no place in my memories.
Tucked in the corner of the room to the left of the refrigerator was the pantry. I would come to envy this room in later years. Only five feet wide, it had shelves on one wall to the ceiling. The storage in this room was something I never had in any house I would come to own. There still sits the chest freezer against the wall that had a window when we moved in.
The bathroom was next as I continued counterclockwise around the kitchen. The only thing of note I remember here is the sliding mirrors on the medicine cabinet. The handles were a gold octagon with a cross cut out design, which stuck out so the edge was facing you. I always thought that as it met its mirror image, that it looked like a Tie fighter.
The stairs to the basement were next. I am not ready to go down just yet. There was a door here once but my father removed it against the complains of my mother. The fear of me tumbling down the steps was for nothing as it turned out. Here though I pause, descending two steps, to my left is a makeshift door cut into the paneling that lines the stairwell. There is a small pull, added years later, and its thin hinge barrels are visible. This door is still very easy to miss if you didn’t know where to look. I open it and peer into the darkness. This room was used to store coats and shoes and one time dog food. I had gotten a dog at too far young of an age. My mother never allowed the dog upstairs and he was kept in the cellar. My last memory of him was of him at the foot of the stairs, barking up at me as I left for school. He would not be there when I came home. I was told he got loose and ran away, only to find years later that my mother had gotten rid of him or let him go. I don’t know which is worse. This small closet carried the smell of dog food for as long as I lived there, I can only assume that it remains to this day.
The last wall of this room stands in my memory as it did in reality. The wall separated the kitchen from the dining room until the day my father got up from having coffee with my uncle, grabbed his sledge hammer and put it to use. The finished opening was trimmed in pine and a few Mediterranean style spindles were placed for decoration. The shelf of this half wall was populated with small glass animal figurines. The Chinese restaurant we went to sold them at the register and when ever we were there a few would come home to be added to the shelf. The small glass owl felt smooth in my hand as if I were actually holding it. I placed it back on the shelf, next to the glass seal that for some reason sat on a small oval mirror. I remember wondering why this figure held such a place of honor to be on the mirror base. Was it because he balanced the red and blue ball on his nose for all those years? It was a question that really needed no answer, I suppose.