Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crazy Icebox

Grandfather B. had thought about settling in Philadelphia after rescuing his family in Europe after World War I but a recession had gripped the country and he decided to return to Walla.

While living alone, a room at a boarding house was O.K. but now as a family of five Grandfather needed more and permanent space. 28 West Chestnut was the answer.

A large white two story frame at the corner of Third and Chestnut. Four bedrooms, a bath, and a storeroom upstairs and bedroom, half bath with laundry tubs, kitchen, breakfast room, formal dining room and parlor on the main floor. Sitting on an elevated corner lot it is still quite impressive.

Quite by accident I found an old telephone book that indicated the name of the previous owner.
Time has erased his name from my mind. I did some research into his back round and discovered that he had been a "49er" but had come up empty handed in California and South America but had accumulated enough wealth in Australia to set himself up in the residential contracting business in the growing town of Walla Walla.

Apparently he had passed on a the purchase was made from his heirs.

One of the features of the house was a screened in back porch. There stood the majestic wooden icebox, a place to protect perishables from the summer heat. The iceman called on frequent rounds to refresh the melting blocks of ice a quiet sentinel standing guard just outside the kitchen door.

Just as progress dictated that the copper boiler and wooden paddle give way to the Thor washing machine with attached wringer, a sleek white electric refrigerator replaced the ever dripping ice box.

When her daughter asked her, "Mom, what do you think of your new convenience?'

The answer was, "The motor goes on the motor goes off, the motor goes on the motor goes off. What a crazy icebox!" and for many years that was a family laugh line


Blogger Burl Barer said...

That icebox, painted several times, was finally stripped of all the layers. Fine oak underneath, it was in our home in Walla Walla, Mukilteo, and is currently either in Ballard with Britt or in Texas with Anea. I can't recall which.
Love your stories!

6:01 PM  

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