I’ve never liked Humpty Dumpty. As a child I found it quite frightening that ALL the KING’s horses and ALL the KING’s men could not repair the damage. Sure, eggs are fragile, but there is always LePage’s mucilage in that clear bottle with the crunchy rubber nipple on top! God, the King, my father… ALL grownups were supposed to be able to fix anything! Maybe this was the beginning of my disillusion.
Several sleepless nights preceded the tear-out of our kitchen. We have gone from an obsolete but comfortable 1940’s kitchen that fit us like a comfy old sweater to… nothing! Like Humpty Dumpty, my kitchen is BROKEN. Can these busy strangers put it back together again?The answer, of course, is YES, but two electricians spent the whole day shaking their heads and trying to discover the rationale behind the existing wiring pattern so that they could work out the lighting design.
I must have confidence… and patience.
When I was a kid I loved taking things apart to see how things work. There is a new MOOC being offered by Dr. Louis A. Bloomfield from the University of Virginia called How Things Work 1 that I would love to take, except that I have already registered for a different one.
I once dismantled an old alarm clock which had been overwound so that the key was stuck. Bad news. I even dissected a very large, very dead, earth worm that had washed up on the sidewalk after a rainstorm. I used my mother’s tweezers and manicure scissors and a kitchen saucer. Mother was not amused.
One summer I was invited for two weeks to my aunt’s cottage on Lake Erie. I thought it was going to be a lovely time, but apparently I was there as mother’s helper to amuse three younger cousins. Out of boredom I took apart and repaired a toy truck with a friction engine. My uncle said that I could fix anything with a hairpin except my hair. Ha! Ha! Ha! I may have been clever, but I was also still a young girl with feelings to be hurt. I didn’t like him anyway… he was fat and loud and drank too much, after which he would go into a Jackie Gleeson impersonation. I was glad to go home and never went back. But I did keep taking things apart. My hair is another story,
Now my kitchen is broken, and we are camping out at home, preparing meals in the basement laundry room and eating upstairs in the den/studio, spending far too much time and money shopping for things like a dozen pot lights and slabs of granite. It is a steep learning curve, and when I have learned what I need to know, I will probably never use it again! I am too old to have this much “fun”!
So back to the poor broken egg …as I should have suspected, there is much more to the story: Humpty Dumpty was a colloquial term used in fifteenth century England describing someone who was obese. This has given rise to various, but inaccurate, theories surrounding the identity of Humpty Dumpty. The image of Humpty Dumpty was made famous by the illustrations included in the ‘Alice through the looking glass’ novel by Lewis Carroll (see above). However, Humpty Dumpty was not a person pilloried in the famous rhyme!.. Humpty Dumpty was in fact believed to be a large cannon!
And my poor broken kitchen…