A few years back, I made a New Year’s resolution to organize every paper in our home. It’s when I realized we had far too many desks for a family of four.
There were office-sized wooden desks for 4 desktop computers, an antique secretary, a drop down desk in the kitchen, a full sized credenza that housed photo albums, drafting table/art desks full of child projects, a locking 4 drawer steel file cabinet, and a workbench in the basement full of owners/operators’ manuals.
It took me most of 3 months.
There was a lot of sorting, purging, recycling, labeling, filing.
There were a lot of memories, and a few tears.
I was happy with the results, and proud of the effort.
But later today, we will sit at our kitchen table and do our income taxes.
It is also where I sit to sort mail, pay bills, etc.
It is a throwback to a very special time, a time I shared with my Dad.
I watched in fascination as he did the very same on our 1960’s maple kitchen table.
He never kept a checking account, and chose to pay all his utilities, mortgage, etc. in person, and with cash.
After sorting the bills, and separating the cash into piles, we set out to all of those destinations. He often encouraged me to walk up to the counter, pay the bill and get his receipt.
It was a special bond we shared. And to this day, I still conduct financial efforts at my kitchen table.
Some things just never change.
My parents didn’t have a checking account either and did the same thing, paying bills in cash!
Isn’t it such a contrast to today, when folks pay for their Starbucks with a debit card ? ☺
A fitting custom
With other options…more table space, better lighting, etc., the kitchen table is still the choice. ☺ Thanks, Derrick.
A special bond that certainly makes paying bills more pleasant! Lovely! Thanks for sharing.
It does help. Thanks, Linda. ❤️
I love those everyday details that make up family memories. My dad did his bills every month on a card table that he’d unfold in the living room. I use the coffee table 🙂
Now there’s an extra step…the unfolding. We all have our preferences, I guess, D. 💖
I grew up with that very same kitchen table — although my dad paid bills from his desk in his (in-home) office.
I’m really wishing you’d come to my house and organize my papers though. Bring matches.
Funny thing. I have a friend who was storing all his adult children’s boxes in his basement. When it flooded, all was lost. Fire would work as well, Elyse. 🚒 🔥🔥 🚒
It’s true, the kitchen tabel used to be the all-round place for everything. Also for doing homework and stuff.
It was also pretty much the center of all family gatherings, where there was food, drinks, games, conversation, etc. We never used the living room, always the kitchen. ☺
I remember that from my husband’s family. The kitchen was the central place in the house!
Not much has changed for my own family, Erika, our family room is open to the kitchen…we’ve just stretched it out a bit. ☺
That sounds absolutely like “home”! Cozy and comfortable.
🏡 🏡 Thanks, Erika. 🏡 🏡
Awh 😊 you are welcome 😊
About 30 years ago we inherited my uncle’s maple kitchen table. Upon closer inspection I could see the indentations of writing etched into the wood, letters upon letters upon letters. I guess they were the vestige of years of my aunt and uncle sitting at that table and writing — letters, paying bills, making lists, the residue of years of life. I didn’t have the heart to sand them away. My daughter has the table now and I hope she feels the same. Lovely post, Van.
How wonderful is that ?? 💕 I’m so glad for your family that you left it intact. Thanks, Deb.
I do almost everything at the kitchen table too – the same one I grew up with, since my parents gave it to us when they got a new one.
So sweet. Glad for you. It is still in the family…my stepmother has it. I’d love to have it for one of my kids one day. ☺
Growing up, we did everything at the kitchen table – homework, crafts, games – as well as eating. Which was a bit strange if you think about it, because my brothers and I each had our own rooms. The kitchen table just seemed so much better.
It really did seem better to use that kitchen table, CM. We didn’t have our own room. I shared with 2 sisters and/or my grandmother. ☺
That’s a great memory Van! My dad kept a ledger with a #2 pencil of his hours and what he should get paid at the kitchen table. And if the company was out by even $0.01 he went after it. He also rolled change at the table, not the coin tubes you can buy now but the flat paper, laid down at an angle with the propped up coins somehow held in balance while he rolled. ❤
Wow. I don’t remember that flat paper coin wrapper. Your dad was tenacious about his earnings. My husband still goes for that #2 pencil. ☺
I remember my dad sitting down and doing the bills and sorting papers. such special things your dad taught you! Wow what a huge project! I am impressed! xx
For some reason, I was the only one who paid attention to money matters at an early age. It was more than just the bonding with him, I was fascinated by it all. Thanks, Lynn. ❤️
Such a nice experience!
I feel so much better now to know I’m not the only one that conducts business this way, Van. I still don’t have a debit card, use a checkbook–as hard as the banks and businesses try to break me! I love sitting at the kitchen table, paying bills and “reconciling” my checkbook. I’ve been called “old fashioned” all my life, but now that I’m old I say it suits me 😀
Yep. I’ve not given over to online banking, prefer to handle the paper. It just seems more real to me. I pay a few utilities in person where I can, and mail the rest. ☺ You’re not alone, Mandy, and you’re not so old, either. 💝
Some things don’t need to change. It’s nice after all these years to still be able at the table with your dad and do bills..:)
Thanks, George. ☺
I don’t remember seeing a cheque book until my adult years. In our place everything is cash transaction and our dinning table was where my mother sorted the bills, while my dad used his work room. These little memories leave indelible marks on our lives.
Indelible marks, for sure, Jacqueline. I still use a lot of cash, in farmers’ markets that don’t accept plastic. ☺ Something more tangible about handling the paper $$.
It’s actually better to pay and move on.
That is so beautiful. It reminded me of such times spent with my Dad. Thank you
Most welcome, Nimi. It seems there were so many Dads at the kitchen table. ☺
So good you had that time together. Paying bills stresses me out. I did it for years, but one day I handed the stack over to Bud and told him I’d never do it again. I would if I had to, but it is such a relief to have him do it.
We never really discussed it, I just assumed the role from the start. He worked with numbers and $$$ in the millions at his job, but when he makes an entry in our check register, there have been errors. So…it’s all mine, and that’s ok. ☺
Oh, I really need to go through some papers. Thanks for sharing your memories 🙂 I really appreciate our kitchen table, more than just for family meals; bills, homework, talks over coffee…
It is the center of almost all facets of family life, I think. Thanks, Sadie. 💕
You know what? Our fathers did the same. I can remember it. Thanks for the reminder 🙂
My dad (stepfather) was a person who paid an accountant and so are we. We pay most of our bills via the laptops on the sofa, but we pay our water/sewer in person because otherwise we can’t keep it straight. (What a boring blog post that will be someday.)
I had to laugh. I pay the water bill in person, so I can complain about it. And about the boring posts…you might be surprised.☺ It’s usually the little, but relatable things in life that are the most popular. Thanks, Joey.
You’re probably right.
My dad was the same way. He paid with cash for just about everything. I don’t know why? Maybe because he went through the Great Depression and his family felt if you can’t pay with cash then you can’t afford it. Then again, not having credit might force you to do business that way. However, the kitchen table did seem to be a place of business in our house, too. My wife would have a cow if we did that in our house, though. As it stands now, our table is always covered with homework or something else. Couldn’t do any business there if you wanted to. 😀
My family had reason to distrust banks from a family episode long ago, Paul. They foreclosed on the family farmhouse, creating tragedy for my grandparents that had lasting effects.
I believe it. My dad grew up on a farm and I some nightmare stories. And as far as banks are concerned, for all the good they do, they also do an awful lot of damage as well. Sorry about what happened to your grandparents. That had to have been devastating.
It completely changed their family, and affected us all down the line. Thanks, Paul. 💖
My family had reason to distrust the banks from a Depression era incident, Paul. They never forgot.
So sad to read about this.
Thanks for reading, Paul.