The Pot That Would Not Boil


When I was newly married, I was teaching at Hancock Park Elementary School. I became friendly with several other new teachers. They had not yet married. I spent an evening in Betty Ann’s new little apartment in North Hollywood learning how to make spaghetti sauce and cook pasta. We got the sauce down fairly easily with no hiccups. Tasty and delicious just like the Italian restaurants, so we imagined.

The cooking of the pasta is another story. My new wedding gift, a Farberware soup pot that I brought over for the cooking of the pasta, we probably called pasta spaghetti back then, would not boil. We turned the fire up and up until it could not be turned up anymore. We figured the saying “A watched pot does not boil.” was true, so we took a break and listened to music and talked. Still the pot would not get a boil on, just rippled a bit. We put the pasta, spaghetti in the pot and it finally made al dente status. All and all the pot never boiled.

We had other cooking lessons, but my pot never boiled. I am reminded of this non-boiling pot because I used it again this afternoon as I cooked pasta for a macaroni and cheese dish celebrating our daughter’s fifty-first birthday tomorrow. The pot boiled finally after over fifty years, and I could not stop sobbing. I sobbed not for the boil, but for the story I have lived with and never told all of these years.

The summer of 1961 was the year of the World’s Fair in Seattle, Washington. Betty Ann, my cooking partner and another new teacher Sheryl (?) were making plans to drive up to Seattle and enjoy the Fair. I listened to their plans with envy and even asked Mr. C, my husband, if he thought I could go. Of course I could not go. I was a married woman. In those days we married ladies stayed home and some of us worked outside of home and in the home as well. So, during that summer, I continued to enjoy my affair with love, being a wife, cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking the evening meal. I enjoyed being home when my husband arrived home, then and now as well. I thought of my friends in Seattle enjoying the World Fair events and could not wait to talk with them upon their return.

They never returned. Their car plunged off of the road into a steep canyon and both of them died instantly. My memory is burning deeply today and I still miss them. I thank God for my life sustained and I thank Mr. C for marrying me.