Kathy’s Kitchen

By O’Ceallaigh –

I was up this morning at about 6:30 AM and wandering about the kitchen trying to acclimate myself to the new day and organize sufficiently to get my handful of pills on the counter in order to take them in the appropriate sequence. My neck and “occipital” area of my head was hurting and I added to my mental stress by trying to decide whether to take aspirin to dull the edge of the hurt!

While going through all this foolishness I, like a good automaton, ran through a few “Range of Motion” exercises during one of which, my head was tilted back and I was looking at the ceiling.

That’s when I saw it.

We purchased our first house in Jamestown, New York some 50 plus years ago. It was on Sturges Street on the North side. We didn’t have much lawn, but I needed a lawnmower. In those days, a lawn mower cost about eighteen to twenty dollars and, as I recall, I was only making about $65.00 a week driving about the area servicing Grocery Stores for a Food Broker. This travel was about a thousand miles a week. That worked out to about a dollar an hour, or so it seemed!

lawnmower_t620 crop

I was not in the mood to spend $20.00 on a new lawnmower so we looked elsewhere. That’s when we ran across an advertisement in the local paper for a “Storage Unit Fire Sale!”   Hey! Why not give it a shot.

It was down by the “Outlet” where Chautauqua Lake empties into the Chadikoin River. From there it goes to Cassadaga Creek, then to the Conawango Creek and on to the Conawango River in Warren, PA. It then travels to Pittsburgh where it ultimately connects with the Ohio and somewhere down the pike with the Mississippi.

So, here we were at this little auction where they were selling the stuff from a storage unit in an old frame factory where a fire had smoked everything up.

We thoroughly enjoyed the chant of the auctioneer as he sold off a few of the items but, when he came to the Rotary lawnmower I really started to pay attention.

He started off at a dollar. I let a few of the cheapskates get in as it advances at a quarter a shot. It was quite active, I thought, so I made my move!

“$2.50” I called out.

There was silence.

“Finally the auctioneer hollered out, “I got 2.50, do I hear Three, three! Anybody three??”


“Sold!” to the man in the Woolrich jacket!”

“I should’a bid $2.00” I thought to myself!

We had come for a lawnmower, we had a lawnmower.

We hung around a few more minutes just for the fun of it and then headed out with our purchase. The chatter of the auction was fading in the distance when we heard the auctioneer say, “Who’s Kathy!?”Young_Auctioneer_p115 crop

Kathy turned quickly and said, “I’m Kathy!”

He was holding an old, dirty, smoked up piece of wood that vaguely said something on it in Old English.

“Well?” He asked!

“Two bits!” I replied.

Everybody applauded!

We got home with our two purchases and set about to clean them up. First, the last purchase.

It was a piece of solid Oak, about four feet long well finished but dirty. We worked on it for some time with various cleaning agents and it came out looking just fine. In perfectly carved Old English lettering it says: “Kathy’s Kitchen.”

101_1476We hung in up in the kitchen on Sturges Street and it’s been with us ever since.

And, there it is this morning, fifty years later!

I wish I could tell you that we researched the sign and found that it was brought over here on the Mayflower by the very same Kathleen that operated a classy Pub at the Bunratty Inn in Ireland discovered when we visited there, but, alas, no research was ever done!

But, it is a memory that is still precious to the two of us it still hangs above the counter in our home in Florida, declaring that this is “Kathy’s Kitchen!”

And don’t ye be fergettin’ it now!!

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