Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's the Round Oak Table?

When I was a kid growing up in small town, USA, my mom wrote a column in the weekly newspaper. It was the only newspaper that covered the six small communities that made up our rural consolidated school district. The column was called "From the Round Oak Table." I suppose the name originated from the idyllic view that Mother, in her spare moments, using fountain pen and personalized heavy-weight stationary, would sit at the kitchen table and jot down sweet musings on the comings and goings of our family, our community and the world. Yeah right.

In truth, the Table was generally covered with the mail, school notices, newspapers, a dish or two, the phone book, some laundry, art projects, and more. Amazingly, the Table was cleared and set for dinner every night - all the stuff piled back on after dinner. Mom's column was composed on her trusty IBM Selectric (or a Selectric II - new machines appeared often), which sat on a rolling typewriter table, which got wheeled around the kitchen and dining room on an as-needed basis. The typewriter table was littered with lift-off tape, ashtrays, spare typeballs, white-out, and scraps of paper representing future columns. Her column was due on Monday mornings, so this generally meant staying up very late on Sunday nights typing, then rushing into town early the next morning to get it into the drop box.

From the Round Oak Table chronicled our family's life and so much more, a sort of pre-historic "blog" if you will. She preserved our privacy, much like today's bloggers - Dad was JPK, sisters and I identified by first name only, and Mom signed off as MMK. But everybody in our small town and the surrounding towns knew who we were. As a kid, I never thought much about Mom's column, it just was. Mom started the ROT in about November 1974, when I was four years old. She retired from the ROT earlier this century. That's 25-plus years of life, opinions, activism, history, and love.

The Round Oak Table covers a wide range of topics: raising a family, living in a small town, local and national politics, taxes and the economy, citizenship, faith, maintaining a household, the weather and much much more. We may even have a few guest writers on occasion.

From time to time, I'll give you a repeat from Mom's archives, but mostly you'll get my 21st century perspective on what's happening 'round the Round Oak Table.


1 comment:

Nancy said...

I noticed your blog link in the comments section of The Pioneer Woman. Is this your first posting of ROT v2.0? I hope your writings give you as much pleasure as your mom's column gave her. I'll look forward to checking in on you from time to time.