From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
Kansas Pioneer Woman Compares Early Day "Workshop" With Modern White Kitchenette of Dwellers in the Big City.
While in the city recently I visited with some of the second generation of my family who dwell in a kitchenette apartment where the kitchen is all white and beautiful with water spouting from faucets, hot cold as you wish it and another spout down which ran the kitchen waste water.
Some of these kitchenette dwellers like their kitchen white, while others prefer them done in blue. I thought the white ones with their shining trimmings very beautiful, and as people will do, felt very sorry for myself that I never had a white shining kitchenette.
Sitting in one of these kitchens on the stiff little stool my mind went back to the old kitchen on the farm, the color of which was a smoky gray many summers and winters with the old Charter Oak stove which sometimes smoked when the wind blew wrong.
Again in memory I saw the long table with the big kerosene lamp in the center and the long wooden bench on which the boys sat to study their lessons and read the Youth's Companion, while Pa read the Leavenworth Times, occasionally reading aloud some witty remark of Petroleum V. Nasby, the Will Rogers of those days.
Ma would wash the dishes, patch the boys coats which had come home from school, with the pockets torn out; made the mittens for the next day's corn husking; made a kettle of mush to fry for breakfast and set the bread for the next day's baking. Fifty pounds of King of Kansas flour it required each week for the family. Sausage and mush and sorghum and coffee for breakfast would seem strangely out of place in the modern kitchenette.
The day's work ended we read from the Holy word and Pa would offer a prayer of thankfulness and a supplication to be kept from danger and sin.
That would also seem strange in the modern kitchenette.
Kansas was settled by brave, strong men and still stronger women who reared large families who peopled the land. They fought hardships in many forms and although often discouraged never despaired.
The kitchenette apartment has come to stay with the automobile and other modern ways, but the foundation for these was laid in the old kitchen with its smoky ceiling and the bench that stood by the table. To these we turn back for inspiration and a song.