My Piece of Americana

I woke up this morning thinking about my mother’s Hoosier cabinet. She loved that Hoosier, with its original glassware and tin flour bin and the carousel spice rack with little jars. The porcelain worktop slid out for when you needed a little more space to mix dry ingredients or roll dough. When Hoosiers were introduced in the first part of the 20th century, they were considered a boon to women, as they centralized food storage and preparation. My mother’s Hoosier was beautiful, perfectly refinished, and it was taller than me. When we had to clean out my parents’ house, we struggled with what to do with the antiques—the Hoosier, a wooden spinning wheel, a clothes wringer, and multiple other antique chests and cabinets. The best I could do in my two-bedroom apartment was to take my mother’s marble-topped dresser, the wooden Ivory Soap sign, and my grandmother’s school slate. I never considered the Hoosier, because I had nowhere to put it. They say the tin containers are not really safe for storage, and what would I do with antique spice jars when I can get McCormick’s in plastic for $1.99 at CVS? So we put the Hoosier and the rest of the antiques on the auctioneer’s truck, along with my grandmother’s salt and pepper shakers, my mother’s Snow Village collection, and some of my father’s tools. We filled the entire truck from my parents’ garage. My sister and brother and I sometimes ask each other, “Whatever happened to the rocking chair that used to be in the den?” and we realize that it must have gone on that truck. I have a list somewhere of what they took. The Hoosier ended up selling for $375. I’m thinking if I ever find one like it at an antique store, I will bring it home.