Tuesday, March 25, 2014

REMEMBERING CHAUNCEY STREET 2.Kitchen Appliances by Pat Aronica

On Chauncey Street, we graduated from an icebox to a refrigerator in the dining room.
My parents were married for twenty five (25) years before they owned an electric toaster.  I remember the way we used to make toast. My mother had a wire rack that she placed on the gas burner of the stove. She placed the bread on the wire rack where it would get warm and finally toast on the one side. Then Mom turned the bread over to toast the other side.

To whip cream, my mother had a beater which she manually turned and turned. It took a lot of elbow grease to whip the cream until it was soft, fluffy, and formed perfect white peaks.

The used grease and lard didn’t go to waste. We sold it to the local butcher who used it to make soap for the American troops fighting overseas in World War II.

The original stove we had was the same as the stoves in the other units. It was porcelain clad iron. The color was cream and green. It was “T” shaped in appearance. This stove was upgraded when I was about seven or so, and the way it was done is quite interesting.

A few of the local men were self-employed as junkies, also known as junkmen. They had horse drawn wagons with a cow bell attached to a string, rope, or cord. The sound of the cow bell alerted the housewives to their presence the neighborhood. The junkies took anything that was being discarded, e.g. old bed springs, copper tubing, cardboard, newspapers, appliances, etc. They would sell these items to men in the scrap metal trade, earning money to support their families. Nothing went to waste. After a rain, the junkies sometimes would soak the cardboard in the puddles to increase its weight, thus earning a few extra pennies.

One of these junkies was John Eagan. John was married to my father’s best friend’s sister, Irene Hagen. Low and behold, John acquired this somewhat modern day gas range (stove) for $10. And so, from John, my mother got a new stove, the price of which was very important.

My mother later received the sum of $10 from Mr. Silver, our landlord, on the day we moved from Brooklyn to Queens. (1953.)


My parents were married on St. Patrick's Day, making it a particularly special holiday for them.
My parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on March 17th (Patty’s Day), 1952. That day, my brothers and sisters gave them an anniversary party at Felder’s Bar and Grill. My father couldn’t attend.  He had to work overtime that night, and overtime never was turned down, no matter what.
At the party, my parents received their first electric toaster (Toastmaster), their first electric mixer (Mixmaster) which looked like today’s Kitchen Aid, their first electric steam iron, plus other odds and ends. 
© 2013, Patricia Aronica


  1. A wonderful story and good memories, Cathy!

  2. That was great, I really enjoyed reading about your family