Even more vivid than my dreams of a pristine restored Majestic are my memories of a rusty, discarded stove that brought me endless joy as a child. In a row of shrubs and brush next door to my friend Delia’s was a treasure that would delight any little girl.
Some years earlier I suppose a family had upgraded to a gas stove. The tried and true wood stove must have seemed antiquated to them, an embarrassment in its old fashioned solidity and reliability. It was relegated to the yard, dumped in a pile of weeds and saplings.
Decades later two thoroughly modern girls of the 1960s went out to play. They ventured into the vacant lot next door to the older girls’ house. A game of hide and seek ensued. One of the girls spied the perfect hiding spot amidst a clump of shrubs and trees. Picking her way through the underbrush she ran up against something solid and huge.
The girls pulled aside weeds and branches. Glimpses of silver sparkled as the sunlight penetrated the jungle that had not seen light in years. Areas of black cast iron and rust covered handles and hardware became visible. Doors and cubbies invited exploration.
The girls’ excitement grew as it became clear to them that they had discovered an antique cook stove. They worked tirelessly to set their treasure free all the while marveling at their unbelievable luck.
The discovery in the brush provided hours of play to these girls over the course of the next several years. Countless imaginary cakes and family dinners were baked in the old wood fired oven. The appetites of dozens of dolls were sated in that field.
The girls never knew if the adults were aware of their treasure. None of the neighborhood children seemed to be. The two friends enjoyed hours of uninterrupted play together through the years creating fun and memories along with the imaginary delicacies.