Little bald headed kids are so cute. That’s my big brother looking short and happy. Maybe about to trip over his long pant legs as he steps into the sunshine. And behind him stands what I’m pretty sure is the cupboard that now graces my sister Ann’s living room, all refinished and restored and looking great. My brother is looking okay these days too, although a little less shiny because he has a bit more hair on his head.
Isn’t it amazing that those portable cupboard units were more or less the only cupboard space for storage and food preparation in kitchens at one time? We’ve gone completely crazy with our miles of marble and granite counter top and rows and rows of shelves and drawers and our myriad of utensils and gadgets. I can remember this particular unit, or one very much like it, being out in our ‘back kitchen’ when we moved to Aaron and being used as a sort of miscellaneous catch all – like a giant junk drawer. Because there we had built in cupboards, painted a strange shade of sea green blue, of all colors, with two enormous corner lazy susans and spaces deep enough for a child to crawl into. Eventually mom had the kitchen cupboards updated, but she was happy with the amount of storage space and counter top and never asked for anything bigger. That’s when the blue cupboards got relegated to the back kitchen as well. And then some of them made the trip into town to be used as storage in their ‘barn’ garage. I remember her saying once that she thought a person could have way too many cupboards, an idea I personally never embraced. Although it does make perfect sense to me now. We wouldn’t collect so much barely used stuff if we didn’t have places to put it.
And here’s my big brother caught in a rare moment of sister adoration. Maybe he was nostalgic for the bald head and found it endearing. He went on to have a bald headed child of his own eventually. And look at the size of that baby buggy! A five year old could fit in there. This was no fold up unit that you could stuff in your car. It was meant for bundling up your child in sixteen blankets and wheeling her outside for a nap in the fresh air. My mother-in-law gave me one of these contraptions to use when D. was a baby, and it not only held her, but a weeks worth of groceries, my purse, some diapers, and a complete change of wardrobe for both of us. The springs on that thing were incredible. One baby kick and it rocked forever, giving me a kind of motion sickness just watching it. There were no straps or harnesses or bumper pads and lots of places to pinch little fingers, but obviously many children survived their time in it, some of them actually looking happy to be there.
And yes, I do remember life before strollers and car seats. And how it was considered no big deal to smoke around your children, as long as you kept the lighter and the matches out of their reach. I remember life before freezers and microwaves. And bread makers and laptops and cell phones. I’m sure the list is much longer than that, but the longer it gets the older I feel, so I’ll cut it off right there for now and save the rest of my ‘back in the day’ blather for another time. People these days are still having the occasional cute little bald headed baby – happily, SOME things never change.