Friday, April 20, 2012

Mother's Dinner Bell

Vintage Dinner Bell on our Front Porch

Late yesterday afternoon, I rang the dinner bell for the first time of the season.  I never ring the bell in the frigid winter months because the children are rarely outside. But now that the snow has melted and the warm sun has appeared, it is time to get back to my supper time tradition.

Years ago, when we bought this 1800's house, there was an auction conducted on the grounds by the previous owner. They had lived here so long and had accumulated many things. My husband and I bid on several items - including an old wooden wagon that sits on the front lawn. I also got this bell. I just had to have it.

Once we got settled in our new home, Grandpa (who, along with Nana, lives with us in an in-law apartment of the house) installed it on my front porch. I have had so much fun with it ever since.

When the children were little, I did training sessions. (smiles) They would be out playing in the back yard. I would grin and tell them to come running whenever they heard the bell.  They thought it was such fun.  Eventually, when I rang the bell, it meant that I needed them for something or that supper was ready.  It sure saved me a lot of walking through the property to tell them what I needed!

Yet there is also a charming sense of nostalgia when Mother rings a dinner bell. It reminds me of my own childhood. My Great Aunt Rita lived across the street from us. She would ring the bell for her grandchildren to come running, just as she did for her own children when they were little. Our neighborhood had a beautiful private beach at the end of our street. This is where we children often played. There was a small playground, beach house, plenty of sand, and places to explore. Auntie Rita's house was up a hill, directly across from the beach. She would ring that dinner bell to call her children home.

Sometimes I would be out in my yard, and I would hear the ringing of the bell. I loved it. It comforted me.  It made me so proud of Aunt Rita. I wanted to be like that, and have a home like that - where Mother called her children home, each night, for supper.

Today, my children are mostly grown. Two of my children have moved into their own homes. I only have three older teenagers left here at home. They have outgrown many of my mother customs - like bedtime stories. So yesterday, when I rang the dinner bell for the first time of the season, none of my teens came running. I smiled. . . 

I headed out to the back  property and had to remind them. "Didn't anyone hear me ring the bell?"

 They grinned at me. "Yeah, we heard you." Said one of the mischievous ones.

[Mother] - "When I ring the bell, you're supposed to come running. It means I need you or that supper is ready. . . But just now was only a bell-drill.

My older son perked up, "Oh, did you make supper?"  I told him I was just about to. "Well," he said in his gallant way, "When supper is ready, ring it again and we will come running."  I was delighted!

I love that the children humor my old ways. I love that even though they are "too old" for some of the Mother things I do, they still play along, in their own humorous way. And no matter what, I will still ring the dinner bell. Because someday, I will have grandchildren here, like at Auntie Rita's house.   I will ring the bell for them . . .  as a memorial of suppertime tradition.  Those little ones, the next generation of children, will come running. . . and they will love it!

Mrs. White

When the Children Get Older - Sitting Alone at the Kitchen Table.

A Precious Blessing - Suppertime in a Rural Home.

How The Blue Laws Affected Us - The Old Sunday Dinner.

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.  I would also love to have you connect with me on Facebook and Twitter!



Mrs. Sarah Coller said...

Very sweet :)

Have a blessed day,

Mrs. Sarah Coller

busymomof10 said...

Love it!! I've always wanted a dinner bell! I LOVE yours! :)

Anonymous said...

I have a similar bell, & boy oh boy, does it come in handy. We have a big place & it saves so much running around, calling (loudly) for the family members to come in. Thanks for sharing your story. :o)


Anonymous said...

I appreciate the way you refer to the things you did with your children when they were smaller, and acknowledge that as they grow older some of these things will change... but how you still keep doing the old things and they indulge you. Our daughter is older now and doesn't dress the way she did when younger and is, of course, growing up and developing her own traditions and routines. I once told her, "I will always be the way I am." And she said, "Mama, I don't want YOU to change!" I don't think they want to admit it sometimes, but our adult kids like knowing that everything is going on the same as usual at home, even if they aren't there to see it. :)