Baby Boomer – Australian City/Suburban
In my family we seem to be kitchen conversationalists. We lived a couple of different places growing up but long conversations generally seemed to happen around the kitchen table.
From the mid sixties to early seventies mum, my sister Naomi and I lived in a Housing Trust rental home in Elizabeth north of Adelaide. It was a semi-detached house and had three bedrooms, living room, kitchen, laundry and bathroom. The kitchen was a large room which incorporated the dining area. It was where we ate all our meals. On schooldays we didn’t linger over breakfast but I do remember mum making toast under the oven grill and that on cold days our dog, Felix, would try to take advantage of the open oven door by jumping up and sitting on it to keep warm until he was shooed off.
We had a table with a laminated top and metal legs which had four matching red vinyl covered chairs. Actually Naomi still has this table at her house. On weekends when there was no rush mum would cook eggs and bacon in her favourite stainless steel frying pan which Naomi also still has.
Sometimes we might have boiled eggs with bread “soldiers”,scrambled eggs and toast or maybe porridge. There was always tea, made in a pot and drunk out of mum’s “Weeping Willow” china. Mum liked the Willow pattern china so over the years we had many different variations of it as cups and saucers were broken and needed to be replaced. It ended up that each of us had our own special favourite cup and saucer. As you can see Naomi still has some of this china too.
On those morning we had time to talk. Mum would tell stories about her childhood or about living in England during World War Two. We talked about ghosts and favourite pets and what we would do when we won the lottery. We’d make a second pot of tea and even a third until mum realised that it was eleven o’clock and she had to “get on”.
Sunday lunch was a special meal for us too as we’d always have roast lamb, baked potatoes and veg and Yorkshire pudding. As we played in the kitchen sometimes we were often around when mum was cooking but she didn’t insist that we help with the preparations. We rarely had guests, maybe a little friend of Naomi’s or one of our cousins who lived down the road. That was another meal when we talked a lot.
Later, when mum remarried we moved to another house where the kitchen was much smaller. Although it was a squeeze we often did still sit there to drink tea and talk after a meal.
Even today if I’m visiting Naomi at her house we sometimes sit in the kitchen over a second cup of tea talking after a meal although nowadays we both prefer to move to the living room which is warmer and has more comfortable chairs but the talking continues.