The Solon Public Library has a new exhibit, “The Mixing Bowl,” dedicated to the Solon Women’s Club. The display portrays a 1938 era Solon kitchen on a late spring morning. Breakfast is nearly finished, and preparations are underway for Sunday dinner. The lilacs are blooming beside the spicy yellow currant shrubs and flowering quince. Blue bells and violets cover front lawns, but the early blue irises are just emerging. The apricot trees have blossoms, followed by the plum and apple trees.
Highway 1 is an unpaved road, but Solon has electricity. Wood and gas heat the cook stoves, and water comes from pumps and wells. Although railroad and truck commerce provide goods, locally sold general staples and produce from gardens and farms are the main stays for meals and preserving.
Franklin Roosevelt is president of a nation emerging from the Depression into the shadow of war. News from the old country is desperately sought, as Solon watches Hitler’s advances on Czechoslovakia.
The radio becomes a mainstay of family life for news, adventure, music and laughter, but it’s the Sunday comics that are the most popular reading material. Ovaltine’s Little Orphan Annie and Sandy (“arf”), along with Dick Tracy, are heroes in comics, on radio and later in novels. As Sea Biscuit and War Admiral prepare for their match race, the country also celebrates Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Ella Fitzgerald and Kate Smith.
The library exhibit features Solon items, kitchen and dishware from the 1930s, and food appropriate for the season– morels, asparagus, radishes, new potatoes, as well as a farm-fresh chicken. A collection of old Jell-O memorabilia is presented, as well as toys and décor from the 1930s.
The display is a tribute to the old Solon, with its wide quiet streets, linden and catalpa trees, little owls and fireflies on summer nights, and the gentle people no longer with us, who were our friends and neighbors.
The display will run until May 19.