Fond colors of childhood on way back

IT’S AMAZING how some fashions make a comeback.

Some things deserve to remain in the trash pile but others are worthy of a mighty return.

Things like 8-tracks, VCRs and even fax machines are all things I think the world is better off not having.

Others, like records, lava lamps and Rubik’s cube still serve a place in my world.

The same holds true for some of the fond colors of my childhood.

Harvest gold, burnt orange, and avocado green are just a few of those colors. Apparently all the engineers and interior designers in the 1970s were color blind.

Those colors are now considered hideous, but when I was a kid, everyone’s kitchen was full of lovely appliances, both big and small in these colors. Some people even had washers and dryers in these colors.

My parents, who had the house built in the mid-70s, chose the harvest gold kitchen when the house was built. The stove, refrigerator and even the toaster were this muted yellow color. Those colors remained until the late 1990s. Actually, my mother continued to have a harvest gold stove until just a few years ago.

My pop-pop’s kitchen was avocado – at least the fridge, stove and this little instant hot pot. The countertop was white with specks of green. Nothing is more appealing than having a kitchen that matches the color of the canned peas on the plate.

In 1987 or 1988, his stove broke, but he asked my dad to get him a new one. The only stipulation he had was that it had to be avocado, even though manufacturers quit making green appliance years before then – a memo Pop-pop didn’t receive. Fortunately, the place where my dad found the stove was able to do custom-color match.

Actually, since we used to live with my grandfather until our house was built, my parents actually had a mismatched kitchen. My parents’ cookware, can opener and blender were all avocado, too.

My other grandparents had white appliances, a wise choice, but an orange countertop and lamp. At least two sets of aunts and uncles had dark brown appliances, another less than fantastic option from back in the day.

While these colors bring back nice memories of family gatherings and birthday parties, they really were horrible colors. But then again, thumbing through some of the old pictures from those days, those colors were likely a great distraction from the bad haircuts and plaid clothing.

Yet, no matter how out of date or horrible something is, I find myself unable to turn away.

Take the movie, “Battlefield Earth.” I had no intention of ever seeing this movie, but when a guy working at the theater in Maryland told me it was likely the worse film he had seen, I just had to buy a ticket.

It should come as no surprise that I’ve taken to furnishing the bar and second kitchen of my new house with a somewhat tacky retro look.

Those who read one of my recent “Reporter’s Notebook” columns will recall that I like to cook and when it came to buying the new house, one of the things I like best about the new home is the fact that it has a second kitchen in the basement – along with another full bathroom and, of course, a bar.

Now the appliances in the main kitchen were taken from our former home. The best part about that house was the kitchen. We completely gutted it and went with a black and stainless steel look.

Those stainless steel appliance are now at our new home, but the basement kitchen was lacking the basics. We already had a second refrigerator that was white, but the stove that was in the kitchen when we moved in was deemed unsafe by the gas company.

But even before then, the joke that had started was that I was going to get an avocado stove for this other kitchen. I had been to a flea market a few months before and found an avocado KitchenAid stand mixer. I was so close to buying it. It was awesome and the price was right! But, I passed it up. I didn’t need it at the time, and I was being frugal. Now I’m kicking myself.

When the time came to buy the stove, I didn’t care what color it was, as long as it worked and was no more than $50. The first place I looked was the T-L’s classified ads for a safe, yet inexpensive stove to put in the little kitchen.

There was only one stove that fit the criteria and it just happen to be avocado. It’s old, but is clean and in great working condition.

Now, I’m on the hunt for more – like some kind of a junkie who is addicted to tacky colored small appliances.

My mother only made the situation worse by giving me some dishes, mixing bowls and a small dutch oven, all avocado. I haven’t taken her blender yet, but I’m thinking about it.

As far as getting the rest of the stuff, I keep going back to the thrift stores, looking for cookware, toasters, oven mitts, and yes, even a fondue set just to complete the look.

Fortunately for my neighbors, it’s something I plan on keeping indoors, although the thought of the pink flamingos in the front yard has crossed my mind.

Schuler can be reached at