This post is part of the Glover Gardens Kitchen Remodel Series. To see the rest of the chapters, click here.
If you’ve been around these parts for the past few months, you’re aware of the siege (AKA the kitchen remodel). It’s actually going just fine, we just call it that because of the extreme feelings of displacement from not having access to the heart of our home.
As it was starting to be put back together in its new glory after the tear-out phase, I wanted to mark our territory, and wrote some messages on the sheetrock and old flooring.
And then I started thinking about the next time the kitchen will be remodeled, hopefully about 40 years from now, by someone else. We are doing this once and know that we will love it so much that anything we do in the decades to come will be minor and cosmetic, like changing cabinet hardware or paint colors. No more bigtime moving of walls and reshaping the bones of the space.
40 years from now is a long time in the future, and I began to wonder what life would be like for that future inhabitant, if they would view our beautiful kitchen of today as a lumbering relic, in the same way we viewed the 30-year-old pink-tiled galley kitchen of our very recent past. And with all of the innovation going on around the way we source meals, would kitchens even still be a thing?
So I started a letter to that 40-years-from-now inhabitant of Glover Gardens (assuming that it doesn’t become a tear-down), intending to put it somewhere in the walls. That letter turned out to be more of an essay (shared at the end of the post), so I also included a hand-written note, because it felt more personal, and I want the 40-years-from-now inhabitant of Glover Gardens to like me. 😀
The Heartfelt Personal Letter
Both are now in a bottle in a small space behind the new corner sink. A ribbon is tied to it, with a note.
Dear Person Who Now Inhabits Glover Gardens, Well. If you’re reading this, it’s been a minute since this note was written. November of 2021 is the current time. The saying, “it’s been a minute,” will have long been out of style. “How quaint,” you might be thinking. That’s OK, we’ll take that label from the future you. But it doesn’t fit right now. Right now, we’re on the cusp of finishing this big kitchen remodel, so very excited that the center of our home will finally match our lifestyle and personalities, shedding its pink tile and galley style for the eclecticism that defines us and our home. If you’re reading this, it means that you have taken a similar step and are making it fit your own lifestyle and personalities. Good on you. That’s another saying that may be obsolete or old-fashioned; it’s fairly old-fashioned now, having first been uttered in the early 20th century in either Australia or Ireland. But still I say, good on you, Person Who Now Inhabits Glover Gardens or whatever you’ve decided to name it, because I know how you’ll be feeling if you’re redoing the kitchen in this house, nay, this home, which was built in 1993. It’s 2021 right now, and we’re planning on keeping Glover Gardens for at least 40 more years – and NOT planning on doing another major remodel (at least not of the kitchen), so it’s likely after 2060 when you’re reading this. I wonder from my 2021 vantage point if people will still have kitchens in 2060. I mean, it’s already common to have meals delivered from restaurants by Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub or other companies who are chauffeurs for hot dinners that slowly lose their steam in Styrofoam containers stuffed in paper bags, riding in the back seat like passengers. Within the next decade, self-driving cars and / or drones will most likely make these deliveries. We occasionally order meals to be delivered in this way, but not often. The food is usually cold and not as good as it is at the restaurant. These services were a blessing during the social-distancing / lockdown days of the COVID-19 pandemic, though. You’ll have read about that in your history books. Many people have ready-to-assemble/ready-to-heat “meal kits” delivered from companies like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, and Plated. We’ve never partaken of these meal kits because I really like to cook, and I especially like the chopping and prepping of the raw ingredients, touching and playing with the food. “Play with your food” is probably the tagline of that cookbook I’m going to write when I finally have time. You’ll have to Google my name and “Glover Gardens Cookbook” to find it from your 2060 vantage point. You really should find a copy, maybe on eBay, if it’s still around. I promise you it will be a good cookbook with many time-tested, family-revered recipes that were tested in this very kitchen. But I digress. Will there still be kitchens in 2060? I think so. Your lives will be powered by technology much more than ours are today, and of course, in 2021, we are far more dependent on technology than even a decade ago. A half-century ago, most people didn’t have computers. Can you believe that, Person Who Now Inhabits Glover Gardens? And 25 years ago, cell phones were expensive and definitely a luxury. These days, most people look up recipes on their computer or phone rather than using a cookbook. I do both, because my Mom left me a legacy of cookbooks, and I’ve added to her collection over the years. There’s nothing like a cookbook that opens to the most well-used recipe, identified by the stains and crumbs on the page, held close in memory by family and friends who shared the meals together. I hope you will know that experience, Person Who Now Inhabits Glover Gardens, that the legacy of a well-worn cookbook will extend into your far-beyond-the-Jetsons modern life. (You’ll probably have to Google the Jetsons, too. They were a fun, futuristic cartoon family in the early 60s, and many of the seemingly unrealistic features of their daily lives have already become reality.) But even though technology will be far more ubiquitous and people in your 2060 decade will probably be able to create a 5-course French meal by telling a robot to do it, surely there will still be kitchens, else where would the robot work? Technology-musing aside, I think kitchens will still be the center of the home in the 2060s. It certainly is the center of our home. The kitchen isn’t just where we cook. It’s where we convene. We have laughed, cried, made plans for the future, and grieved lost loved ones in this kitchen. We have confessed, shared fears, rejoiced and realized universal truth. We have been ourselves and found ourselves as part of a larger extended family. We have forged lasting connections. Our kitchen is the heart of our home. We hope you feel that and wish you a legacy of the same. Cheers and blessings, The family at Glover Gardens
We are in Mississippi at Gumbo Cove right now, having escaped the siege for a Thanksgiving weekend trip, and I tried to read these letters out loud to the Grill-Meister and our Musical Millennial. I made it about 3/4 of the way through, and then got that telltale catch in my throat, right at the point where it says, “grieved lost loved ones”.
There are so many memories in that kitchen of souls who have been here but are now lost to us – but who are whole across the rainbow in their new form. If you are reading this, please name those souls in your hearts. For me, it is Mildred, Theresa, Pat, Steve, Camron, Frank, Ruth and Jimmy.
Pennies from heaven.
© 2021, Glover Gardens
2 thoughts on “Kitchen Remodel: Message in a Bottle”
I love these letters, tank you for sharing them.
People in my heart and who I’m grateful for that I had them in my life are grandma Rosi, Käthe, Helmut, Robert and Günter.
Thank you, Jan. Continuing to say their names is important, isn’t it?
My list would be longer if I went further back in time… but I was being specific to the souls who were with us in that kitchen in the past 13.5 years.