We ate in the dining room only on special occasions or when there wasn’t enough space for everyone who was present for a meal to pull up a chair around the kitchen drop-leaf table. But we couldn’t have done without the dining room. Where else could I have set my dollhouse? Every spot in the other three rooms was occupied with things that had to be there. In the dining room, I played unbothered by the busyness of the day, letting my doll furniture spill out as I rearranged without worry of its being in the way.
That’s where the guest roll-away bed had to go. Pushed against the wall in daytime, it was easily pulled out and fixed for two or more overnight guests in the privacy of a room of their own. Better than a pallet on the floor.
The dining room was our big refrigerator. Coconut and jam cakes were baked ahead of Thanksgiving and Christmas and stored in the cooler room. Fresh meat from hog killing waited in zinc tubs for its turn to be cooked or ground into sausage. A bushel of apples in a corner smelled so good as we passed through.
If the hens were laying well, the egg crate sat in the dining room and eggs were layered in it after the daily gathering, waiting for the peddler to come by and buy them.
In non-drying weather, laundry was spread over chair backs and hung on temporary clotheslines strung across the room between slender finishing nails carefully hammered into the top edge of door facings.
The dining table served as the perfect place for laying out a sewing pattern on new calico print or squares of washed and ironed feed sacks. You needed to be sure there was enough fabric before you did any cutting.
Lots of projects were carried out on the dining table. Gift wrapping, working on my scrapbook, filling out an order form from the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog. The project could be left there undisturbed for days at a time until we could get back to it again.
Whatever came along that we didn’t know where to put rested in the dining room as we decided.
The dining room played an important role in the organization of everyday life.