When we got married in 1991, we were both full-time students in college and had very little money. We rented a basement apartment for $275 a month, including utilities. It was a pretty good deal even back then, but it was extremely small. The house was in a very nice neighborhood so we were surrounded by people who generally had quite a bit of money. It was an interesting experience for sure and we always have felt like it helped build our character as a couple. Struggling together and overcoming those struggles do a lot to bring you together (at least in the best of cases).
This kitchen certainly was a struggle for us. We would have been happy to stay in the apartment longer than the 15 months we lived there, if we could have just both fit in the kitchen at the same time. Or if we could have had a full size oven or stove. We called it the “Holly Hobbie kitchen” because it looked like a playset and not a real functioning place to prepare food. The Japanese wall hanging on the right, led to a small backroom where we put the nearly full-size refrigerator we finally had to break down and buy.
This room was sort of an extension of the impossibly small kitchen and it is where we stored my husband’s bike, our fridge, and a desk for studying. As you can see, we also used it for ironing. We did not have a washer and dryer and had to go to the Laundromat to do our wash. These were tight quarters for us, but somehow we were able to manage. We both worked long hours and went to school so we weren’t home all that much. We used to comment that we saw each other a lot more before we were married. It really seemed that way much of the time.
These two little photos of our messy kitchen and back room bring back a flood of memories. I’m amazed to remember that I tried very hard to cook nice meals in that kitchen. I remember one time that I made gingerbread in that tiny little oven and our landlord said the smell nearly drove him insane with hunger as it creeped up through the vents. It’s a good thing I took him a loaf! We loved the people we met in that area, and we had even hosted some double date game nights there. Good memories all around, but if I had to do it over again, I have to think that I would pick a little bigger place to start out. It’s easy to say that now, but at the time we were just grateful for low rent and a place to be together.
Do you have any pictures of your first kitchen? Could you describe it to someone else? I’m glad to take some time to think about these types of things on a Memory Monday.