Sunday, October 4, 2009
The sixty-some-odd albums on this old baker’s table contain most, but by no means all of our family photos. The oldest belonged to my father’s parents and his brother. Some of the largest and thickest are filled with scenes from my childhood, which, I have long felt, began many years before I was born. The rest catalog numerous domestic scenes, our various travels, and other milestones.
The drawers in the table itself contain, or used to contain — I think I might have moved them into the typewriter well of my mother’s desk, where I’m working now — the travel documents used by my grandfather and his mother when the surviving portion of his family left Turkey to come to the United States in 1906. These documents are quite large and colorful and look almost like maps.
The drawers also contain some old newspapers and clippings that I haven’t had time yet to study. One thing the curved bin doesn’t contain is flour: there is no way the table could withstand a session with a rolling pin.
Where did the table come from? The house of my grandfather’s cousin in Fresno. Her father, Tateos, ran a restaurant in town in the early part of the twentieth century — a gathering place for recent arrivals and lonely misfits trying to make their way in the New World. I still drink coffee from a flowery demitasse once used there.
[click to enlarge]
“Baker’s Table” added to Penny Thoughts and Photographs.
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