Tucker McBride

Return to a time when a boy could be a boy; when life was more clear from the top branch of a tree; when a kid could trade anger and disappointment for action and adventure; when the whole neighborhood was his playground; and the sloppy kiss from a dog could make everything right.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Family Treasures

This morning, I put a dish in the cabinet of our dry sink and thought of you. I wondered if you have things that came down through your family. Perhaps you have your great-grandma's rag doll, your grandpa's electric train, an old rocking chair, or some fancy dishes. They're treasures, aren't they? Do you know where they came from? I know where the dry sink came from. I also described it in my novel, Tucker McBride.


My husband's great-grandmother gave her daughter, Gramma in Tucker McBride, the dry sink before the family moved west. The piece of kitchen furniture came into Roanoke, Indiana from Pennsylvania on the Erie Canal. The family picked it up at Lock 4, in Roanoke. The Lock, made of wood, was numbered Lock 1 in 1833. It was the first Lock west of the summit level of the Wabash and Erie Canal. The summit is the connecting point where the feeder would meet the Wabash and Erie Canal mainline. The Wabash and Erie Canal was a dredged-out waterway to connect Lake Erie with the Ohio River and ended at the Gulf of Mexico. The locks were opened or closed to raise or lower the water level so the canal boats could float along. Lock 1 was changed to Lock 4, Dickey Lock, when they completed the Ohio line in 1840.

In using the dry sink, Gramma would fill a large teakettle at a water pump in the yard or the kitchen. Then, she'd place the kettle on a stove burner and bring the water to a boil. She would fill a dishpan with the hot water and place the pan in the dry sink so the dinner dishes could be washed. Another pan held rinse water for the dishes before they were dried by hand with a hand embroidery tea towel hanging on a nearby hook. Today, kids and some adults complain about putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Wow-what weaklings.

In my dining room here at home, I put two kerosene lamps on top of the sink that came from my family's past. Do you have items that have been in your family for many years? Some people still have family pictures of grandparents, aunts, and uncles from years past. Some have special Christmas ornaments that hung on their great-grandparents' Christmas trees. Great-grandpa's baby spoon, worth $2.50, is treasured like a jewel because it was his.

Think about the teapot, quilt, large carpenter's hammer, or any other items that are in the closet or on the top shelf. Draw a picture of the family treasure or take a picture. Google the item and research how it was used. Talk to your family and find out what work your family did and how the item played a part in their work or in their home. Learn who your people were. They are a part of who you are now. Meet your family. Have fun with your research.

Dr. Rapp
Copyright 2021 Doris Gaines Rapp

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