From my mother’s memories

My sister had given our mother a notebook, with the suggestion she writes down some of her memories. While she was originally reluctant to do so, she did in the end fill almost the entire book. I will occasionally reproduce some of her memories here.

The Kerosene Lamp

We had at home a kerosene lamp, and if it was not quite dark, my mother would light that lamp.  The wick was turned up a bit, the burning match held close, and then the small flame would quietly crawl around the round wick.  I liked the yellow light.  If the electricity failed in the evening (which happened then more than now), we also used the kerosene lamp, of course.  The shade was silk, with a fringe of silver beads.  The lamp sat on the table, but if it was not lighted, it stood on a small table in the corner of the room.  I don’t have special memories of it, but if suddenly it had disappeared, it would have looked empty.  The kerosene was sold door-to-door by a man with an “Automat” wagon: a small cart with a tank on it, from which the kerosene was drawn.  A cart like that was from a large oil company, but I’m not sure which one, maybe “Shell,” I remember that name best, but I didn’t really know what “Shell” meant.  Those carts were a great improvement for the kerosene sellers, but I don’t remember how they did it before that time.  The kerosene seller used to be an organ grinder.  He had a small portable music box with a crank, which he turned, and then you could hear the music.  He walked along the houses.  He came on Saturday afternoons along our house, and he then received a penny.

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