01. July 2014 · Comments Off on Blondie’s Inheritance · Categories: Uncategorized

It was delivered Monday afternoon, by a pair of muscular and sweating young men from a local moving company. No, not what you might think and get your mind out of the gutter – the main inheritance is a relatively lightly-used and mostly complete vintage Chambers stove, which item had occupied the kitchen of Blondie’s employer and my business partner likely since it was first installed and brand-new. A Chambers stove is apparently the American equal of a British Aga – and Blondie had always admired it. Alice didn’t cook – although her second husband did – and so the stove is the next thing to mint-condition, having the accessory pots for the patent thermo-well and just about all the original accessories save the folding cover that went down over the stove-top when not in use. It has a built-in griddle – which I also had always admired, since the house where I lived in Ogden had a stove-top griddle and I have always wanted another like it. There don’t seem to be any big chips in the exterior enamel, or degradation of the chrome fittings, although the back and sides, and the various compartments are somewhat less than pristine. I foresee a lot of elbow-grease and de-greaser in Blondie’s immediate future.

Alice had no children, you see – although she had a living younger sister, and a number of fond nieces, and grand-nieces and nephews. In recent years, since she and I went into partnership in the Tiny Publishing Bidness, Blondie was her housekeeper, main home care-giver, chief Girl Friday and errand-runner. She did Alice’s grocery shopping, took her to routine appointments, sorted out all kinds of household and computer matters. They had a very comfortable relationship; Blondie observing on more than one occasion, that Alice was the grandmother that she wished she had. Alice, knowing this, was actually pretty chuffed at the compliment… and knowing that Blondie loved the Chambers stove, said that she could have it when she was gone. Her house is being cleared out by the family; I had already gotten all of the books and records necessary to carry on the business. Her library – including a comprehensive collection of Texiana – has been sold entire to a book dealer, the sister and nieces and other family have taken the furniture and memorabilia which was to be theirs – and Blondie has the stove. The gas to Alice’s house was turned off last week. I suppose that the house will be sold soon, although it was such a strange and eccentric concoction, added onto in such weird and awkward ways, without central air and heat – without any charm to the yard and plantings, and in a slightly marginal area – that any new owner would be best advised to demolish the whole thing and start again from scratch.

And the Chambers stove has been delivered – sitting now under the overhang of our back porch. We likely will have to redesign the entire kitchen to accommodate it, as it is very definitely an odd size, and I have no idea if there is a gas line in the kitchen anyway. I would have to scoot the present electric stove away from the wall to ascertain this, and right now that seems like too darned much trouble. And locate some kind of instruction manual for it on-line. Chambers stoves seem to be very popular items among aficionados of vintage kitchen appliances. Well, now we have one.

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