Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
The View from Harbal
Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
Yesterday afternoon, we gathered in Chelsea to celebrate the well-lived life of Barbara Weidner Ike, who left us last February at 81. Her husband Ron, who flew the F-4 Phantom in the Navy before moving on to larger personnel carriers bearing the colors of Republic, Northwest, and Delta – is a distant cousin. I’d known Barb since the early days of my fellowship, nearly 40 years, and our relationship took on many wrinkles. Hence, I was pleased and honored when Ron asked me to speak at her service. Here’s what I said, with Ron’s permission:
“Barb was my colleague, relative, patient, fan, and above all a dear friend. Early in my fellowship, someone asked me if I was married to that tall blonde nurse in the E.R. I had to make an excuse to get down there to check her out. From across the room, I could tell she wouldn’t make a half-bad catch! Of course, Ron had beat me to her. Barb rose to become head of patient-staff relations for the whole hospital. A big part of her job was dealing with patients’ complaints about their doctors. So, if you were a doc, and Barb came lookin’ for you, she usually wasn’t delivering a candygram.
Fortunately, when Barb came looking for me, she was just curious about this new doc the postman kept getting her mixed up with. We hit it off right away. There wasn’t much we disagreed on, except maybe those Buckeyes of hers. Even that – my maize-and-blue versus her scarlet-and-gray – made for some fun sparks, especially each year when November rolled around. Her curiosity got her into my dad’s hospital room, where she went after seeing his name on the inpatient roster. My dad enjoyed the visit, explaining that his 5’6” self was indeed the father of Barb’s young doctor friend. Dad would ask about Barb every time I visited him thereafter.
Barb had to see the same surgeon as Dad’s later on, her operation revealing a condition that would make her my patient. Her bowel blockage was due to a rare but benign condition that would affect the rest of her life. The scarring responsible was like that seen in one of my diseases as a rheumatologist, an autoimmune condition called scleroderma. Meaning literally “hard skin”, Barb lacked that feature, and the only scarred internal organ was her g.i. tract. There is no treatment for the condition, just trying to make up for the functions of the damaged organs. For Barb, that was the intravenous feedings she did in her last few years, something it took some pulling of strings to get.
They say you shouldn’t talk religion or politics, but boy did Barb and I enjoyed batting about the latter. I won’t go into details, but you couldn’t know Barb and not know what side she swung from. My wife Kathy, Ron, Barb, and I didn’t play cards or golf, but when that foursome got together, look out! And while Barb was surely scarlet-and-gray, even more she was red, white, and blue.
Ron still uses Barb’s e-mail. I guess it was always a joint account, but since I mainly swapped e-mails with Barb, email@example.com will always be Barb. Ron’s nearly daily funnies come in as “Barb/Ron”. So, it’s like she’s still with us. With 40 years of memories, I guess for me, she still is, in a way. While I’m sad I’ll no longer see her smile or get that look, I’m grateful for all the times I could. Thank you, Barb. I never had a better 6th cousin.”
I’ve vowed several times to stop blogging about coronavirus. The pandemic is over, just like Uncle Joe said, and I should be bored with it. Mostly I am, but this video from David Martin PhD before the Europe Parliament caught my eye. From my old virologist’s vantage, none of this is implausible, and all of it is quite frightening https://seemorerocks.is/dr-david-e-martin-phds-address-to-the-european-union-parliament-may-2023/
Tickets to Boz Scagg’s concert at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids were already sold out and got me realizing I’ve got to keep better track of my favorites as other folks seem to like ‘em too. I’ve been going to concerts since before I could drive, starting with Tiny Tim (1) in Las Vegas while on a westward car trip with my friend Shorty. I clearly got over that. Since then, concerts have been way too numerous to count, ranging from seeing Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in a basement dive in Ann Arbor to joining 200,000 or so of my hippie friends at Goose Lake to take in a unbelievable ticket that included the likes of Bob Seger, Chicago, Joe Cocker, 10 Years After, Mountain, the James Gang, John Sebastian, Alice Cooper, and others. 15 bucks well spent. They closed the place down, never to host anther concert, after locals raised concerns about some of the hippies’ behavior, like drugs. Damned shame.
Over the years, I got to know what I liked, but strayed away from concert going as I eased into the “serious” years of my life. I’m not sure what triggered it, but about 10 years ago I realized that my favorites were my age or older, and maybe wouldn’t be doing it much longer. Hell, how are they doing it now, old men that they are? Our area has abundant venues for music, ranging from the outdoor playgrounds at Pine Knob, Meadowbrook, Freedom Hill, and Comerica Park, to capacious indoor arenas like Joe Louis, Cobo, and Little Caeser’s with old roaring 20s era movie palaces reborn as performance venues like the Fox, Fillmore (a.k.a. State) and the Masonic. Close to home, we have our incomparable 400 seat Ark, no better place to hear a concert. And we weren’t above traveling elsewhere in our great state if the act was right. In fact, the water into which we would dip our toe was in Kalamazoo, at Bell’s Brewery’s Eccentric Café. We headed there on a July day to see the legendary Johnny Winter. We’d seen enough pictures and video of this albino wonder to be prepared for his otherworldly appearance. But when he shuffled onto stage, bent over, half blind, steadied by 2 husky men, Kathy and I wondered if he was on the right side of the pale. When he sat down and put his hands to his axe, it was clear his fingers were still working just fine. He put on a rip-roaring show, finally carried off by the same men who’d brought him in. A few weeks earlier when I was telling my friend Forrest – whose knowledge of music vastly outstrips mine – about our concert plans, he just said “See ‘em before they die!”. Always a risk when you’re seeing septuagenarians and octogenarians. I dubbed our exercise the “fogey rock tour”. Little did I realize we’d claim our first casualty so soon. A month and 2 days after that July 14 date came news out of Bülach, Switzerland that Johnny had been found dead in his hotel room. As the next stop on our tour was with Ringo and his All Stars, we were pleased that nothing happened after to start a string. Indeed, ol’ Ringo’s still at it 9 years later, and going strong. Not that there haven’t been other losses. 11 musicians of note have passed on some time after we’d seen them in concert: Buddy Cage (New Riders of the Purple Sage), David Crosby, Charlie Daniels, Jim Dapogny (Ann Arbor music professor and jazz legend), George Frayne (a.k.a. Commander Cody), Glen Frey, Merle Haggard, Dan Hicks, Stuart McLean (Canadian raconteur), Tom Petty, and Peter Tork (Monkees). As we’ve racked up 188 concerts so far since 2014, that’s a pretty low mortality rate. I put up on my blog my concert list through September 2020, if you care to see what we were seeing (2).
So, what I started to do this morning was jot down a list of artists I’d wanna go see anytime, anyplace. In this modern age, they all have web sites with their tour schedules, so those took the next column in the spreadsheet. Looking these over gave me the opportunity to sign up for notifications. Then, for perspective, the last two columns have details on last concert of theirs we’d seen then the next reasonable chance of seeing them. One, we already had covered (Robbie Fulks in Three Oaks), but now we can look forward to seeing if Tommy James can jump as high as he did 8 years ago in Meadowbrook and catch Willie Nelson and John Fogerty at Blossom near Kathy’s old stomping grounds. Hey, as I’ve been working on this, I got a call from a nice lady at Flint’s Whiting, where Boz also has a show, now I’ve got tickets!
I realized this urge to scrutinize schedules should not ignore home field. The Ark has a way of sneaking acts in, so at least a monthly review is in order. So, now we’ve got tickets to Tommy Prine (John’s son!), Bill Kirchen and Redd Volkaert, and Tom Paxton, who was apparently kidding about that farewell tour 2 years ago.
So, here’s my spreadsheet. I intend to consult it regularly. Should you be unfamiliar with some of these artists, I’ve included at the end links to YouTubes of one of their song’s that I like a lot. Note the birthdates, placing most of these folks squarely as my peers or beyond. Oh, sure, I’ve let in some young’uns, like that 60-year-old whippersnapper Robbie, who’s told me I remind him of his father (Robbie’s very tall, too), the 59-year-old (totally bald) Paul, and little 44-year-old (!) wisp of a thing Eilen. Then there’s a few of the extremely advanced, but please no dead pools. Looking at 90-year-old Willie in action last weekend, there are no safe bets.
As I’ve had to resort to a JPEG to get that table over, I’ve pimped you out of all the URLs. So here they are. Click away!
1. Tiny Tim – Tiptoe Through The Tulips. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcSlcNfThUA
2. Ike B. concerts. WordPress 9/16/20. https://wp.me/sbBaof-concerts
3. Asleep at the Wheel – ‘Half a Hundred Years’. YouTube.
4. Karla Bonoff – Personally. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CAXCJlIoY0
5. Sing, sing, sing. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6wvVUc_yb4
6. He Thinks He’ll Keep Her. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVL4mDFX3rY
7. ”Whenever you’re on my mind”(1983) Marshall Crenshaw (HQ). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-or2AET9L4
8. Rodney Crowell – “It Ain’t Over Yet (feat. Rosanne Cash & John Paul White)” [Official Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFrpzPR6TLY
9. Robbie Fulks – I just want to meet the man. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPnGt2isRJ8
10. John Gorka – Love is Our Cross to Bear. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oq-QJiNFS_U
11. Tommy James and the Shondells – Crimson and Clover. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS0niyiKlcw
12. Eilen Jewell sings “Thanks a Lot”. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl4Zt5kqJPA
13. Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire (Official Video). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFTLKWw542g
14. Bill Kirchen – “Hot Rod Lincon”in Washington D.D. *UPGRADED*. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsLdufJePz0
15. Leo Kottke -Jack gets up (Live). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghHhRklLQzE
16. Sonny Landreth & Cindy Cashdollar. Blues Attack 9-22-16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpe30ew0g70
17. Willie Nelson – It’s Hard to be Humble (Official Video). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdZ5wY9XxdA
18. The Remember Song Redux Performed by Tom Rush, Written by Steve Walters. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kg__ykHM3A
19. Loan Me a Dime Boz Scaggs. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RTh5t8yEqI
20. Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band – With A Little Help From My Friends – 5/19/23. YouTube.
21. Paul Thorn “Viagra”. YouTube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4YepLZ7I9M
22. Joe Walsh – Analog Man (Live). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il1Byvn_vMA
23. Joan of Arc – Jennifer Warnes & Leonard Cohen. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtwUyDPXROQ
Memorial Day is a time to remember and respect those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Fortunately, my dear dad emerged from World War II unscathed, living a long and happy life until leaving 20 years ago in March. But he considered his time in the service as the best thing he ever did in his life. See him here in Rome, May 10, 1945, 2 days after V-E day.
He’d come to Rome in 1943, an eager draftee who had his hernia fixed so he could serve. His Fisher Body plant had geared up for defense production, and he was the sole remaining of 3 sons at home, the 2 others already off to war. That’s 3 excuses he ignored to join the effort. The Army thought this athletic sparkplug would make a good paratrooper, till someone noticed his glasses. So they leaned on his other talents, Haney’s Business School honed already in a couple years at GM. He flew a desk, running the Military Mission to the Italian Army, seeing that that outfit was well supplied. He says no one ever shot at him, and he came home with a new taste for Italian food if not for opera.
Here he is 53 years later, standing in front of a mural at the American cemetery in Naples, pointing out the movements of the Allies’ campaign to retake Italy, which preceded his arrival there by several months.
Per his request, he had a military funeral – complete with a flag draped casket, 3 rifle volleys over his grave as he was lowered down, and taps from a real bugle – and his highest rank – T-Sgt (Technical Sergeant: 3 up, 2 down) – is inscribed on his tombstone, by which a flag placed by the local VFW is flying now. Thanks, Sergeant Ike. Thanks Dad.
I’ve missed the anniversary of the canonization of Joan of Arc, who entered sainthood thanks to Pope Benedict XV on May 16, 1920. That’s a long time to serve as a martyr, leading the French to victory over the English at Orleans in 1429 and in effect securing the coronation of King Charles VII , to have saved a nation only to be burned at the stake. A model for virtuous women everywhere. Her feast day is comingup: May 30th, anniversary of her execution,
She’s inspired many, including Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes (1).
A friend offered such nice condolences for my mom’s recent passing (1), I felt compelled to offer her some information about this person she never knew. Here’s what I wrote:
Mom was a spitfire. Chose to carry me when she got knocked up at 19 even though cad-Dad offered to pay to “take care of it”. Went on to raise 4 more of her own when she and her Italian electrician husband bolted Dee-troit to live among the Amish in Stanwood by Big Rapids. It wasn’t a farm, but it had a barn and they had horses and other animals for the kids. All got college degrees (3 with 4 from MSU!) and thrived except for baby sister Amy, who chose to become a Colorado ski bum – still happy in her own way – and died of a vaxx heart thing at 56 last May. Mom’s mom made it past 104 (see them on the beach at Anna Maria Island in FL a couple years before I came along), just like my own Grandpa Ike, so I expected to have her around. Heart issues got her, and she became very frail her last few years, though her mind remained sharp, sharp enough to get zingers to her oldest son regularly. Her maternal grandparents worked the copper mines in the Keweenaw after coming over from Cornwall before buying cut-over farmland in the thumb, so I can say I have Yooper blood, something of which I’m very proud. My favorite picture of her is one we took very early in our relationship, back in May ‘09. We arranged a meet up by her house after the PI had found her. Kathy rented a plane and flew me and her to the nearby Canadian Lakes airstrip. Mom drove up in her red convertible, so we both made an entrance. After that came a visit where Kathy’s jaw dropped to see the similarities in our mannerisms. It was never distant or awkward with Mom. Words between us just flowed. We could talk for hours, but didn’t do so often enough. Mom spent winters in Mazatlán, and we always threw her a party when she pushed off. See us in October 2020, when Amy was still alive. There’s a missing son, living down in the “other peninsula”, but we love him too. The last is me, Mom, Kathy, my tall sisters, and some cousins at a restaurant in little Beaufort, County Kerry, last July. Mom had hinted to her daughters for several years she’d like to celebrate her 90th birthday in Ireland, so we did. At one point she said she’d had such a good time she wanted to have her hundredth there. I wouldn’t doubt that her spawn will end up there in July 2032 to summon her spirit. And to honor her wishes, we’ll have a great time doing it.
Marlene and Violet Gilbert on the beach at Anna Maria Island, sometime in 1949
Mom meets her first born for the first time (as an adult) on the grass field of Canadian Lakes airstrip, May 2009.
Mom’s girls (and one boy) wish her well as she pushes off to Mazatlán for the winter, October 2020. Front row: Di (a.k.a. Jack, CPA for the State and also MSU volunteer women’s rowing coach), Amy (Amelia, a.k.a.Madge, driving FedEx truck), Mom. Back: Jolene (a.k.a. Ish, became pharmacist after her dream of veterinary was dashed), me.
Mom’s testosterone laden offspring, tempered by their dear wives. On our porch at Madeira Beach January 2023. Spartoon John (B.A., LL.B), Karen, Kathy, me. Yes, John and I smoked cigars beforehand (2). As you can see, John did get some of our mother’s good looks. I trust he’s used them to good purposes.
Gathered at Dunloe Hotel & Gardens in Beaufort, Killarney, County Kerry, near Kilkenny, after Mom’s second or third 90th birthday party. First row: cousin Krissy, Mom, Kathy, Di, Krissy’s mom Laura. Back: Jolene, me. The hats were Jolene’s idea.
They called ‘em “fellowship groups”. We were encouraged to join one shortly after we became members of the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church (AACRC) in 2006. Small groups of parishioners met regularly in one another’s homes to share each other’s company while discussing a biblical topic in some depth. Bill, Marilyn, Tom, Claudia, Larry, Ruth, Jim, and Alice had an opening, so we joined them. All were a little bit older than us, each with a much longer history with the AACRC, but we got along. Over the years we’ve become very good friends and cherish our meetings together. Apart from some dust ups over politics and COVID (do I repeat myself?), we’ve shared a love of Jesus and Michigan sports, although Jim and Alice were Spartoons, since moved to Muskegon so less of a problem. With passage of COVID, we’ve started to get together again, now much bigger social occasions with post-discussion snacks replaced by full dinners. This Wednesday was our turn to host. It had been a while since the group had been over to our house. With our new countertops and a gallery of space/music/memento posters plastering our walls, we were eager to show off. Plus, the food. Give me an excuse to cook and several days to prepare, just look out. Here’s what awaited our guests as they came to 1611 Harbal.
Guac & chips
We got this simple guac recipe from our dear friend June Rogers of little Nathrop Colorado. So much simpler than the guac recipes we’d been attempting, and so good.
June is widow of my dear friend Sam. You can see more of her here (1)
This time of year, when this magical grass is abundant, you want to eat as much of it as possible. Steamed, chilled, then marinated in French dressing, it’s pretty delectable.
The first line is “3/4 C oil.”
(guests brought cheese & crackers)
Adapted out of an old barbecue cookbook, where it was meant for whole chicken pieces, this bath for boneless chicken produces bite-size wonders. The dish originates in South Africa, whence we got Elon Musk. Think he’d like it?
Steak chunks with Montreal steak seasoning
Why wait till that nice steak is on your plate to cut it up? Cutting up a strip sirloin or ribeye into bit size chunks then exposing them to Montreal steak seasoning before skewering leads to some tempting treats
This simple winner of a recipe has seen these pages already. (2) At last serving to this same group, we realized that substituting the same volume of ground chilis to whole chiles led to a much hotter ‘shroom. We cut back by half on no one was burned.
This recipe has evolved since its inception. Lately, the ½ C chilis has become ½ C ground chilis, clearly increasing the potency. For this gathering, I reduced that volume to ¼ C.
Grilled peppers and onions
Too simple for a recipe card. Just chunk up one big, sweet onion and 3 bell peppers, skewer and grill.
See here the grill output
Herb and buttermilk potato salad
From People Magazine, no less! Everybody likes potato salad, as our guests did this one. The extra jar of pimentos (not included in the original recipe) didn’t hurt.
Rhubarb crisp w/ice cream
The first “fruit” of the season is this abundant stalk. Definitely for adult tastes. My wife’s experiment with balsamic vinegar as a substitute for sugar bore out here (3). We even left out the oatmeal crumble top and added non-dairy ice cream to satisfy the 2 vegans in our midst.
Of course, the wines, white and red, flowed freely. What would a night with Jesus be without wine? We closed out our evening as we always do, sharing the troubles we face as well as those of those close to us, prayers to follow. In the end we emerge with a Harbaughian notion of who’s got it better than us? Nobody! We shall meet up again.
On this Mother’s Day, I’m back to being an orphan. I’ve been blessed with two wonderful mothers. Marion Lela Slater Ike (left) took me in and gave me joy until she left me when I was 10. Marlene Joan Gilbert (right) chose to have me when she became pregnant at age 19. I became reacquainted with her this month 14 years ago. Last week she left us after 90 years and 10 months. How I love and miss them both.
A dear friend who’s a surprisingly talented artist is turning one of my favorite Commander Cody photos into a painting. She’s needing clarification of some details in the photo. One of them is “what’s that on your t-shirt?” Well, it’s a poster for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of “Hot Rod Lincoln”, held at Kent State (yes, that Kent State) April 25th, 2008.
Here’s the photo she’s working from, taken at Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley Massachusetts, about an hour’s drive northwest of Boston’s Logan airport, after a June 13, 2015 concert by Bill Kirchen (far right) at which the ol’ Commander (between Bill and me) was the guest.
Kathy’s wearing a Michigan hockey jersey as the Commander has two degrees from UofM and says he played freshman football and ran track while Bill was born and raised in Ann Arbor and is a proud UofM dropout. George Frayne (CC) was also an accomplished artist and sculptor who also did paintings on commission. He did that poster, by the way. I asked him several years ago if he would take on this picture. He declined, saying it had “too much detail.” Should you be interested in what his own art looks like, check out his web page, where some of it is even for sale (1).
Should you wish to know what all the fuss over “Hot Rod Lincoln” is about, and somehow missed its appearance on the radio in 1972, here are five renditions.
First the original, the song Charlie Ryan wrote and recorded it in 1955 (2). Charlie lived the life he wrote and sang about (3), dying at age 92 in 2008, the same year his song would be memorialized at Kent State.
Johnny Bond’s version made #26 on the Billboard charts in October 1960 (4).
I’m not certain which version the boys found in the old record bins, but they sure did a bang up job with it. Checkout their performance at the Free John Sinclair rally at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor December 10, 1971 (5). Their version would make #69 on Billboard’s top 100 Singles of 1972.
Big Ray Benson credits CC&hLPA with inspiring him to start up Asleep at the Wheel, as they showed you could sell old country music to hippies. They often shared a bill during the 70s. Ray wasn’t above poaching some of their songs, and HRL is a staple of their sets now (6).
Bill’s look at my tee shirt in Shirley was the first he’d heard of the Hot Rod Lincoln celebration. He said “I should have been there”, and indeed he should have. Bill has taken Hot Rod Lincoln and made it his signature song, always closing out his first set with it. He’s taken the events after the character sings “I’ve got a license to fly” and used them as a platform to showcase his encyclopedic knowledge of classic guitar licks and his ability to play them. Neophytes at a Kirchen concert always get a sleeve tug from a knowing friend when this tune comes up “Ya gotta hear this!” Here he is playing it in Washington, D.C., less than 2 months after the Kent State celebration (7).
Only Kirchen (8) and the Wheel (9) are still out there performing. Each is a guaranteed good time, and you’re sure to hear a rousing version of Hot Rod Lincoln!
2. Hot Rod Lincoln – Charley Ryan (1st version). YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e58NJU5B3v8
3. Hughes DL. Hot Rod Jukebox. Charlie Ryan – “Hot Rod Lincoln”. CarShowCrazy.com. https://carshowcrazy.com/hot-rod-lincoln-various-artists/
4. Johnny Bond – Hot Rod Lincoln (1960). YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZu5TwRbYiA
5. Hot Rod Lincoln by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen 12/10/71. YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8TeHA4UL_8
6. Asleep At The Wheel Hot Rod Lincoln Official Video. YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSF3DQkN9aM
7. Bill Kirchen – “Hot Rod Lincoln” in Washington D.C. *UPGRADED*. YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsLdufJePz0
8. BILL KIRCHEN https://www.billkirchen.com/official
9. ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL https://www.asleepatthewheel.com/
Finally getting those old pots and pans out of storage and restoring them for sale proved to be a more emotional experience than I had counted on (1). But they’re ready to roll, as good-looking as they’re gonna get, and about to get packed into a box to await being claimed by someone who sees them on eBay and makes the right offer. I think true lovers of Revere Ware may comprise a cult, their hearts going pitter patter at the site of those copper clan bottoms. True, it’s incredibly cool they were made by a company started by a major Revolutionary War hero, but that company lost its way in the sixties when they started to make the stuff cheap, the design later falling through a series of companies of which one finally threw in the towel and stopped making it in 2018. But there’s still enough out there it’s not hard to find on eBay and an on-line company makes a go of it selling replacement parts solely for Revere Ware (2).
So the new owners of this set may know everything they need to know about Vintage Revere Ware. I still felt moved to include a little letter of introduction to their new purchase. It went as follows:
May 10, 2023
To the new owners of this beautiful vintage Revere copper-clad cookwear:
Congratulations on your purchase. They don’t make ’em like this anymore. This is the real deal, a blast from the 50s, made just as the first pots the Revere company – two generations removed from being run by Paul Revere’s grandson, a company his grandfather started at the end of the Revolutionary War – made and showed at the 1939 Chicago Housewares Show and not changed until the mid-60s when Revere Ware reduced thickness of the copper cladding by 50% as a cost saving measure. The stuff still looked nice but didn’t conduct heat near as well. Rights to the design and sale of Revere Ware passed through several hands with World Kitchen, Inc. (makers of OXO – “Good Grips” – utensils) filing for bankruptcy in 2002 and the last holder of the rights, Corelle Brands, discontinuing production completely in 2018.
Both my mother and grandmother owned a set, so these are the pots and pans that cooked the food I was raised on. As I grew to 6’8” and ended up a professor of medicine, it must have been some good stuff. I’m not sure which set this was. Grandma took better care of hers, keeping that copper gleaming like new by dusting each pot’s bottom with a little Copper-Glo after each use, spreading it around with the moistened palm of her arthritic hand to get full effect.
I apologize this set does not have a Dutch oven or lid to it. They might have fallen victim to some kitchen experimentation as I struggled in my youth to become the cook my mom and grandma had been. I found several on eBay just now, so it shouldn’t be too hard to complete your set, if you want to have such a pot. There is a stainless steel insert here that makes a double boiler when nestled into the 3 quart pot, somewhat unusual for sets like this.
In my opinion, it’s the copper that makes this stuff special. Keeping it gorgeous requires the same regular attention my grandma gave it. They stopped making Copper-Glo some time ago. An on-line commentator mentioned Kleen King, which I bought on Amazon and used to good effect. I’m enclosing my unused portion, as I’ll no longer have any copper cookware when this goes out the door. Bar Keeper’s Friend also does a good job on copper, but none of the conventional abrasive cleansers, like Comet, will do it.
A Revere Ware aficionado named Peter some years ago set up an on-line business – Revere Ware Parts (2) – to supply replacement parts to other fans out there. The site is also a wonderful repository of Revere Ware history. There’s an item there “Identifying Vintage Revere Ware”. You can check out your new pots and pans against Peter’s guide and see that they’re the genuine article. One aspect is the name of the plant that made the 8” (medium) skillet. Mine was made in Clinton, Illinois, the last plant they brought on line, in 1950, to cope with demand for the product.
I’m sad to part with this piece of my past, but heartened they will be going to a home where they will be used and cherished. Bringing them out of storage and preparing them for sale has been an emotional but very satisfying exercise, even inspiring me to write something for my blog, which you’re welcome to check out (1).
The listing is up on eBay and looks like this:
Should you wish to check out the listing for yourself, go to (3).
1. B. Ike. The tarnish R coming! WordPress 5/10/23. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2023/05/10/the-tarnish-r-coming/
2. Revere Ware parts. https://www.reverewareparts.com/
3. vintage pre-1968 revere ware copper clad cookware. https://www.ebay.com/itm/155550717756