Bread Knife

The ambiguous bread knife
The ambiguous bread knife

It looks rather ordinary - a bit of rust on one side, scalloped ridges on the blade, unmarked other than a faint "Made In USA" stamped on the blade's base. In fact, I see it every morning used by my parents on our current loaf of bread. It is however rather unusual, as our family has only ever encountered another one as good at its job: a nearly identical one housed and used by my grandmother Anita in her apartment in Minnesota. Her mother Minna received one of the knives in 1921 for a wedding present, and later, when Minna spotted the second in an antique store in the 1940s she decided to purchase it, in order to have one for both her houses: one in Portland and the other in Seaside, OR. That means one has been in our family for 99 years and the other for at least 70. Minna gave Anita one of the knives before her death. However, after Minna's death, the Seaside house was sold and my great-aunt Shirley gave Anita the other knife, since she had acquired most of Minna's possessions and wanted to leave her sister something from their mother's kitchen. We now possess that knife for our own house in Bridgehampton, NY, but the detail as to which was which has been lost in time.

Place(s): Portland, OR; Seaside, OR; Bridgehampton, NY

– Rafael Goldman-Kunin

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant