At Stephanie’s Table

May 5, 2013 | 3 comments

Dinner Table LilacsVisiting our friend Stephanie in Ilwaco always makes me think that I have been transported back in time.  Not back very far, mind you.  Just back to the 1950s or 1960s.  In those days, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and I was a ‘tweener’ of sorts – too young to be part of the beat generation too old to be a hippie.

However, during those decades, I had friends in both camps – both in North Beach where we hung out at City Lights bookstore or the Old Spaghetti Factory and, a bit later, in ‘The Haight’ which is what the locals always called the Haight Ashbury district.  Probably my most vivid memories of those years involve my friends and their kitchens, their kitchen tables, and the people who sat around them.

And that’s where Stephanie comes in.  First of all, when you walk through the front door of her house, you walk directly into the fairly large kitchen which is almost completely filled with a big, oval table and chairs enough for whoever might be in the house at the moment – plus whoever has been invited and whoever might just drop in.  Last night’s gathering ranged in age from Stephanie’s granddaughters Lydia and Linda, four and eight, respectively, and encompassed at least five decades besides.

Invariably, the room is redolent with fragrance – baking muffins or brownies or, perhaps, the scent of flowers at the table’s center.  Last night there were lilacs, but they weren’t yet in full blossom so we had to nuzzle closely to pick up their sweet, distinctive smell.  They were the deepest purple I have ever seen – not a surprise because Stephanie is all about purple.  Her glassware is purple, her dishes have a purple pattern, the walls, the curtains, the accessories (even a doorknob!) are shades of purple.

And then there is Stephanie, herself.  I’ve known her for the better part of thirty years and I don’t think I have ever seen her wearing anything other than a long, full-skirted, gingham-type dress.  She is still working as a para-professional up in Gig Harbor and she was telling about “Hippie Day” last week in one of the classrooms.

In answer to my “What did you wear?” she said, “Pretty much what I usually wear.  I just added some beads and a headband…”

But it’s the quiet conversation, the laughter, the food, the diverse personalities who seem to gather around Stephanie’s table that take me back in time.

Thanks for including us, Stephanie!


  1. Nancy

    For all to read and consider: I have never met Stephanie, but she is my “information maven”….I enjoy, to the max, reading, on Facebook, about her family from the little ones to her mother, all of the comings and goings, and often wonder how she has time to bake up those goodies and participate in LIFE, fully. I can only imagine Mothers’ Day at Stephanie’s!

  2. Jo

    You have described Stephanie’s essence to a T. Visiting at the beach is always full of surprises, fun, and laughter. I am looking forward to sharing Mother’s Day with her at the beach. Heaven!

  3. Stephanie Frieze

    I am blushing. You know the commercials that say “butter makes it better”? Sydney and Nyel make any occasion better and I look forward to entertaining them along with Jo and Jon on Saturday as a pre-Mother’s Day dinner. Now Sydney, the walls of our kitchen are a butter yellow in deference to Dave who says there are too many gloomy days at the beach, but I will own that there is a prodigous amount of purple and lavender in my life as well as a preference to dresses, although there was a period in high school where what I wore to the Lake Hills Roller Rink for dances were considerably shorter! Ah, those were the days! Now my skirts cover a multitude of sins.


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