Saturday, March 24, 2007

I came from what some might consider a large family... but in my Irish Catholic world, having 6 kids was pretty average. Everything had to be larger in a big family, meals were an assembly line. Only a VW bus would do, and school lunches lined the table like paper bag soldiers. The bill for groceries must have been outrageous. There has to be more of everything when a family is large.

As a child, I watched as my father and older brothers wrestled with our new kitchen table. They had bought it in an auction- a large, wood, second-hand library table. Dad brought it home strapped dangerously to the top of the family VW. Somehow they managed to get this oversized table into the kitchen, but once in they were unable to turn and position the table where my mother wanted- it was simple too large. In exasperation, my father fired up the circular saw and cut 4 feet off one side. “This side will be the one against the wall,” my father proclaimed.

A family needs a big kitchen table to conduct its business. Meals are only one of the tables duties. Report cards were scrutinized here, molten candy was poured on slabs of marble and cut on this table, dough was kneaded here. I hurt my shoulder as I walked by the corner of the table when I was a boy, and I hurt my hip on the same corner as an adult. We toasted the life of my grand mother here. I overheard my parents discussing my runaway brother at this table. The kitchen may be the heart of a house, but the kitchen table is the soul.

We grew older and each of us moved into our own homes with our own kitchen tables. My parents no longer needed the large table and gave it to a workman. As much as they would have liked to have kept the table it was time for it to go to another family.

4 comments:

Regina Clare Jane said...

Oh, I remember the big table well! With 6 kids in our family, we needed one too! I never wanted to sit in the middle though!
Nice story...

paris parfait said...

Sounds like you have lots of happy kitchen memories - but I can't believe your dad cut four feet off that table! On the other hand, when I moved to London from the US, I thought the movers were going to have to saw my sofa in half to get it up the narrow stairs. Thankfully, it wasn't necessary, but I actually broke down and cried because they did so much damage to the sofa getting it in. When we moved to France, I stayed away while the movers were packing, because I couldn't bear to watch what happened with the sofa. My husband and daughter said the movers got it down the stairs easiily - apparently the first set of movers weren't very experienced.

Patty said...

And I'll bet the table is serving its purpose for the workman's large family.

Kimberley McGill said...

Oh, I can relate so well. I was an only child but I had 5 children (boy did I have a lot to learn) We ended up with a huge round table and a very busy kitchen! Thanks for sharing your memories.