The Kitchen - 1978

When I told my wife I was planning to put this picture onto this web page, she said, "Wes, that's the worst picture of you there is." Dear Reader, I knew then that it belonged here.

This was taken in 1978, and shows me ready, able and willing to cut up a tube of Pillsbury cookie dough to bake cookies. This was in the days before you could buy the dough ready-to-bake in its own pan. In addition to the geeky expression on my face, note the feeble sideburns. (Everybody wore them back then.) And how about that shirt, huh?

This photo shows the kitchen after the past due (about ten years past due) 1976 kitchen remodeling. We installed new cabinets, white Formica countertops and a harvest gold cooktop. We also installed a suspended ceiling with integral fluorescent lighting, and the colors in this photo are accordingly bluish and greenish in hue. By the way, I now hate suspended ceilings with integral fluorescent lighting, but at the time it was a quantum leap over the gorpy white and gold hanging lamps. There is also a Rubbermaid harvest gold dish rack behind that coffee maker, and a bottle of Palmolive ("You're soaking in it!") on the counter. You see, the kitchen remodel of 1976 didn't include a dishwasher; Mom still did that by hand. I'm not sure why she didn't buy one, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't because she insisted on doing dishes by hand - she did enough of that during the day at the cafe. I can only assume she was being penny wise and pound-foolish. Or that we ate out most of the time, and rarely dirtied many dishes.

Yes, the paper towels on the left are harvest gold. We also bought avocado, naturally.

We had the worst time with ants. They were omnipresent in the house, on the front porch, in lines outside the house, going into cracks and holes and working their way into the kitchen, where Dad invariably left scraps of sweets for them to eat. They made Mom's life a living hell during the summer, and we continually bought various Ortho and Raid products in an effort to initiate an ant holocaust. (I especially remember little green bottles of death with inviting ant holes in the caps.) There always seemed to be more than enough of them to go around, however, no matter what we did. As an enthusiastic and sadistic child, I outdid myself in thinking of horrible ways to kill them. The water hose, the magnifying glass, the spray paint can, the stomped foot, burial under rocks and massive amounts of dirt, airplane glue - all of these I tried.

Perhaps the all-time worst Clark house ant horror story was the time Dad left the freezer door open, with sticky strawberry sauce left all over from one of his summer shortcake desserts. Mom and I came home from an especially rough evening shift at the café only to find ants all over the kitchen floor and in the freezer. They got everywhere: along the door, under the fridge, in and around the packages of frozen foods - even under the rubber magnetic seal, where Mom and I had to wipe them away (with harvest gold paper towels) to a smeary oblivion. I can only suppose they were crazed by the cold or something, because they were not only dining on the strawberry spillage, they were crawling around aimlessly everywhere else, too. Thousands. No, millions. Wait, I exaggerate. Anyway, there were enough of them to infuriate Mom, who cursed like a sailor and threatened separation.

It was a memorable - and disgusting - evening.

You can't see it in this photo, but a luxury item of the time was a trash compactor in a metallic brown finish, which we installed standing by itself in the kitchen. Concerns about compacted, concentrated trash smells were relieved by the use of special deodorant blocks; these gave off the most powerful and pungent lemon smells I had ever experienced.

Next photo, into my bedroom

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