Better late than ever: recalling a home improvement guide from 1955
1955 was a pretty good year, as I recall.
I started first grade, and, while Sister Marie Leo had clearly received her pedagogic training from Torquemada – quite a shock to the tender system after having spent my kindergarten year with the kind and gentle Mrs. Julia B. Hackett – I enjoyed grammar school.
In November, my brother Rick was born, and came home from the hospital on my birthday – to this day, the best birthday present I’ve even received. It had already been a good cousin year: Mary Lou came on the scene in March, and Michael in June (snagging the name Michael, which my parents had planned on for Rick).
I still believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and also believed Sister Marie Leo when she told us that stepping on the “holy grass” of the church lawn was a mortal sin, worthy of perpetual damnation.
It was the height of the baby boom, and pipe-smoking, Pendleton shirt wearing, Ozzie Nelson type suburban dads were doing all sorts of home improvements.
My personal father, while he was Pendleton shirt wearing, and, even though he no longer smoked a pipe, did have a pipe rack (wood – with carved dogs’ heads on it) on his bed stand, was not all that into home improvement.
With my mother, he papered and painted. He absolutely did lawn. But he was not exactly Mr. Fixit.
Plumbing. Wiring. Carpentry.
That’s what professionals were for.
Nor was he Mr. Craftsman.
There was no basement hideaway, full of skill saws or whatever, where he whipped up bookcases and TV stands, and taught my brothers the difference between a phillips head screw and a flat screw.
He did have tools, but pretty much the only time I remember my father using them was for something to do with the lawn. The saw cut down an unwanted sapling; the screwdriver was used to prise out a dandelion.
The only major home improvement project I recall him working on was yard related: he put in a corral fence around the yard, and to mark off the little wooded area in the ravine next to the house.
And, while he was a reader, he wasn’t reading home improvement books.
Not that I recall.
So he wasn’t in possession of Sunset Kitchens Planning and Remodeling from Oxmoor House, 1955 edition, which has been recalled.
Oxmoor House, Inc. is recalling about 540,000 home improvement books because the books contain errors in the technical diagrams and wiring instructions that could lead to incorrectly installations, posing an electrical shock or fire hazard…The books were sold at home improvement stores and bookstores from 1955 through December 2005 for between $5 and $20. Consumers are advised to contact the publisher for a full refund. (Source: Boston.com.)
Just think: all those modernized kitchens, all those additions to make room for the growing baby-boom family, all those home improvements that the Mr. Fixit, Mr. Craftsman dads took on in 1955, and 1956, and 1957… (“Happy Mother’s Day, honey. I got you that garbage disposal you always wanted. And thanks to the swell Sunset Kitchens Planning and Remodeling book you got me for Father’s Day, I know how to install it.”)
We sure were lucky as kids that my father wasn’t so hell bent on DIY that he’d expose his kids to electrical fires and shocks.
But if you’re about to start a wiring project, and are using that old Sunset book you found at a flea market (or in the family basement when you closed your parents’ house down), forget about it.
Toss the book. Go the google and get the correct instructions. Better yet, call in a professional.
Labels: growing up