Pizza Pan for Mother’s Day

Today’s Object at Hand is the 12″ pizza pan that my mother used to bake Chef Boyardee pizzas (the only kind of pizza I knew until I was in my teens). But this is not just any pizza pan. When I was almost three my parents got an air conditioner for their bedroom. Their first air conditioner.

The box! It was a box big enough to play in. I was, as I’ve mentioned, almost three years old. One day (I remember with ridiculous clarity) I was sitting in the box in my nursery. I don’t know what I was thinking as I sat in the box, but my mother suggested that it was a plane or a fire engine. My parents were always playing these “pretend” games with me. I played along, even though I knew it was just a box.

Anyway, I fixed on fire engine. But, I said, I needed a key to start it. So my mother got her keys, and punched a hole in the box so I could put it in and turn it.

But, I continued, I needed to steer the fire truck. I remember the look of surprise on my mother’s face. Now I know it was a minor epiphany. She told me to wait a “minute.”

It drove me nuts at that age that a “minute” (as used by grown-ups) could be either a short or a long time. But she seemed so excited. She dashed off, and I heard clanging around from the kitchen at the far end of the hall. She came back with the pizza pan, and handed it to me.

Okay, I thought. I held it like a steering wheel. But, shouldn’t it be attached to the front? I expect she was exasperated at my ingratitude.

But she went over to my father’s desk (my nursery was his office) and dug out this brass thing, a wire brad.

She managed to punch another hole, and fix the pie pan to the box. Now, I could drive!

And I played with that for a couple of days. The evidence is still clear on the center hole of this pizza pan, which was used about twice a year for about a decade after that, and kicked around in drawers ever since. It was one of the few kitchen items I snagged from my parent’s estate.

Distorted center hole of pizza pan

Aside: I know I was two because my brother was born the month after I turned three.

Also (for my third birthday) they moved me into my “big boy” room, upstairs with a bed that I had to climb up onto, instead of the crib in the corner of my father’s study. I did not yet understand that this was because another baby was coming and would need my crib.

Given that they had just bought their first air conditioner, it must have been getting warm out, as in April or May. If it had been the previous summer, when I was newly two, I suspect the memory would not be so sharp.

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