In "The Way It Was", -- Rebecca Hoffman Fox 1829-1911, -- Thomas Miles Dodd 1826-1880, 3-Howard Garris 1906-1990, 3-Wilhelmina (Bee) Garris King 1918-2007, 4-William (Billy) King 1954-, Bee Stories, FAMILY: BEE & BOB TOGETHER, FAMILY: BROTHER & SISTERS (BEE), FAMILY: MATERNAL LINE (BEE), Round O, S.C., STORIES on February 3, 2013 at 8:05 am

As was the custom in those days, the kitchen and dining room were completely separate from the rest of the house. We went out of the house through a breeze way into the kitchen and dining room. It had been a part of the house that Great Grandma Becky and Great Grandpa Thomas Miles Dodd had lived in. The rest of their house was added on to the back of the store, and the smoke house had been their kitchen.

There was a large kitchen with a large wood burning range with a warming closet and a hot water tank on the stove, tables, running water from our artesian well and carbide lights. Off to one side was a large pantry , as long as the whole kitchen filled with jars of canned vegetables, fruits, pickles, jams , preserved that Mamma had fixed. There was a coffee mill to grind coffee as it was bought in the bean form. There would be home cured meat brought in from the smoke house which had been my great grand parent’s kitchen. Nuts, beans, grits and corn meal all from home grown supplies. The beans and peas were dried from the fresh beans that Daddy raised in the summer. In the summer we always had more fruit and vegetables than we could use. We divided with everybody.

In the dining room was a long table with a buffet to the side. In fact it is the one that Billy has now., and Howard later refinished it. The reason for the house and kitchen always be separate was to keep odors and grease from getting from the kitchen into the house. Also to cut down on the chances on the house burning if the kitchen caught on fire.

— “The Way It Was,” Chapter One: “The House,” 1999

  1. There was one other pantry for canned vegetables on the breezeway. It was on the porch outside the kitchen, and held quart Mason jars full of such delicacies as green beans and tomatoes – shelf after shelf of them. But it got everyone through the winter. The cooking was delicious. I remember thinking the primary difference between breakfast and supper was that breakfast had grits and supper had rice. It seemed that everything else was the same. Yep – fried chicken for breakfast – along with bacon. Delicious! I did go with Aunt Floy a couple of times to watch her kill a chicken. I know that Momma said she had the chicken-googly-eye, but I guess Aunt Floy had the knack by then – or Momma was busy with other things. Then we’d take the chicken to the kitchen, pluck the feathers, clean the chicken, burn the quills off, slice it up and start cooking. The chicken house was behind the kitchen about 15 yards or so, close enough for both fresh eggs and poultry.

    There was a building behind the main house that they called “the old kitchen”. We weren’t allowed to go in, but I never knew why. I did go in there after the house was empty. There were three or four rooms, one with an old iron bed and another that could have been a kitchen, but there was no stove. The smoke house was behind that. The last time I was at the house, I remember there were several things missing that I remember from childhood, like the huge rendering pot in the rendering shed (beside the chicken coop). I’m glad Billy got the buffet.

    The buildings were like they are now by the time I came along, so I don’t know which part was Thomas and Becky’s place (prior to the add-on).

  2. Check out Grandma (Bee’s) next paragraph regarding figuring out which buildings were part of Thomas and Becky’s old place:

    She says the old house “consisted of five rooms: including our kitchen and dining room . The smoke house,( their kitchen) and the two rooms behind the store were probably a parlor and a dining room.”

    Was what you are calling the “old kitchen” behind the rooms she calls “our kitchen and dining room?”

    • The building they called the old kitchen was the building behind the main house as we knew it. The store, post office, and “new” kitchen was in one structure, and fronted on Round O Road, connected to the main house by the breezeway.

  3. On where Becky and Thomas lived: I wonder if when Momma said “the back of the store” she meant that there was a porch that connected the store to what we called the “old kitchen” which was really directly behind the “new house” that she grew up in. I remember that those rooms were always locked and no one went in them (not just us kids). But if you think there were multiple rooms there, surely that was Thomas and Becky’s house.

    Of course there could have been historical phases to the progression.

    • That could be. We’re remembering all this from a kid’s point of view. I think I do remember that not even the adults went into the place we used to call the “old kitchen”, but I’ve never known why. However, I have been into the building – a couple of times actually. It was a few years ago, before Momma first sold it. I went through the whole place – there were no locked doors then. The “old kitchen” was a little spooky. The bed in one of the rooms looked like it had been slept in recently. I was concerned that we had a squatter, but couldn’t prove it.

      I was also looking to see if there were any family artifacts left, but the house was pretty empty. I remember finding an old round cheese-hoop box like Minnie Anna used to get her cheese in. i did pick it up – it seemed to be the only family thing left. Whether or not I had a right to, I felt sad, and like I had been robbed. I knew I was third generation family on the site and everything that anyone closer had wanted was probably already taken, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling.

  4. I also remember the big black cast iron stove that was in the kitchen. All you needed to do is bring in some wood and start a fire to heat the stove before you started cooking dinner!

  5. I think we need to draw a house layout here!

    Are you guys saying that the “old kitchen” (Thomas and Becky’s) was behind the main house, and the “new kitchen” (W.B. and Minnie Anna’s) was behind the store and post office?

    This is still a bit confusing, because if you read Grandma’s text above again, it says the SMOKEHOUSE was Thomas and Becky’s kitchen. If that is the case, whose kitchen would the “old kitchen'” have been?

    • Yep, it is a little confusing. But when we were little, the smokehouse (Thomas and Becky’s kitchen) was the smokehouse and we weren’t prohibited from going in there. The structure behind the main house was called “the old kitchen”, although it actually wasn’t a kitchen at all, but Thomas and Becky’s house. I think no one went in there because the chimney at the back of that structure was weak and they were afraid that we would get hit by falling bricks, or that it would fall and crush the structure while we were in there.
      Since the REAL “old kitchen (Thomas and Becky’s) had been convered to a smokehouse, probably by the time Grandma Bee came along, she probably never knew it to be used as a kitchen. And they would have built the “new kitchen” when they built the main house as we know it.
      Clear as mud???

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