Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, April 26, 2013

Creating Worlds

You see food. I see . . . possibilities.

The headquarters/chief residence of the Stringam ranch, like most ranch houses then and now, was centred around a large, family kitchen.
Everything important happened in that room.
Eating, visiting, business, playing. More eating.
It was, quite literally, the soul of the house.
Mom reigned supreme over its scrubbed surfaces and gleaming appliances.
All traffic came through it, stopping either briefly, or of longer duration.
I lived there.
Whenever Mom was in residence (and Mom was always in residence), I could be found.
Underfoot.
Dragging out stacks of plastic ware or pots and pans.
Or, even more exciting, the dozens of Jello packages that Mom kept in a corner cupboard.
Just for me.
It was amazing what one could construct out of those small, cardboard boxes.
Castles. Forts. Corrals. Houses. Barns. Apartment buildings. Stores.
Even schools.
Infinite possibilities.
Infinite hours of fun and creativity.
I should mention, here, that Lego hadn't reached my little world.
Yet.
But it would.
Moving on . . .
And my Mom, moving about the kitchen, had to step carefully to avoid disaster.
To both of us.
How lightly she moved, dancing and weaving around the complicated constructs that, to me, were edifices of genius and creativity.
Occasionally, we came to grief. Something I had made would have meandered a little too far across the floor and Mom would trip over . . . it.
But not often.
Mom should have been a professional terpsichorean (real word – I looked it up).
Or Superman. She could certainly leap any building I made with a single bound.
Looking back, though, I have to wonder why Mom kept so many Jello packages in that cupboard.
Certainly, we ate a lot of it.
But that still didn't justify the number of boxes stored there.
Maybe, like Moms everywhere, she knew . . .
Just how much fun assembling castles out of sweet-smelling boxes could be.

There is a codicil . . .
My grandchildren were playing on the floor of the kitchen as their mother and I were preparing supper. They had a complicated construction of Tupperware, old yogurt containers, pots . . . and Jello packages.
I stepped over it.
“Careful, Gramma! You'll knock down the princess' castle!”
And suddenly, I was four years old again.
Creating worlds on the kitchen floor.

8 comments:

  1. I liked the Jello packages because for a spell they contained car and aircraft picture wheels. I might add that I'm re-collecting them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. :-) I remember how lovely and warm my grandmother's kitchen was, and how I played with the pots and pans...

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
  3. This reminds me of the section of cupboard that was for my daughter alone....plastic ware, empty food containers, wooden spoons. She didn't build anything but she would get it all out and play cook whenever she was hungry.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I remember doing this with cereal boxes and cans of beans etc. In other rooms I would construct with books and building blocks. When I grew up, I had a whole bottom drawer of plastic bits and pieces in the kitchen that was specifically for the kids to play with. I have a photo of my grand daughter playing drums with upturned saucepans and wooden spoons.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Those were the best times... just exploring and building... no worries :)

    Sweet story Diane

    ReplyDelete
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  7. Imagination is the most important ingredient in having fun! I can't remember playing with kitchenware or food boxes, but I do remember playing by the hour with modelling clay (I must have been slightly older). It's lovely that your mom was so encouraging of your creativity regardless of the state of the kitchen.

    And now I crave a bowl of Jello :)

    ReplyDelete
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