We Think We Have it Rough

White rye-type bread

Image via Wikipedia

HOT WATER

My dad walked home from work nearly every day.  He rarely took the car unless it needed work, or he was in a hurry.  When he arrived home, he followed a ritual that very seldom changed.  I remember him coming up from the basement into the kitchen and going directly to the fridge for the slab bacon. He cut off a square chunk, then sliced a slab off the rye bread. The bacon was too big to eat in a chunk, so he sliced it into thin pieces and laid them on the bread. Finally, he cut the bacon-covered bread into small squares.  He ate the squares, one by one. If  I was there, he shared. Hmmm, hmmm, good!

After this snack, Dad went back downstairs to light the fire in the small stove. He had modified the stove to run a pipe through the firebox and  into the water tank.  He kept a box of  kindling to fuel the fire.  The fire heated the water in the tank.  Once the fire was going, he started a project around the house like cutting the grass, or fixing something.

By six o’clock, the water was hot, and Dad went upstairs to take his bath.  When he was squeaky clean, he came down for supper.  Afterwards, Mom still had enough hot water to wash the dishes.

The small wood stove served to heat water during the summer months.  During the winter, the coal furnace heated the water. Another pipe routed water through the furnace into the water tank. Dad opened a valve to switch the water flow from the stove to the furnace.  During the winter we had hot water continuously because  the fire was going in the furnace.

Dad installed a gas-fired  water heater in 1950.  He bought the heater from Sears with instructions for how to do it. After that, he never used the small stove for heating water again.

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