Kitchen Remodel, part 5: the much-ballyhooed Flair story (part 1)

Samantha, from Bewitched, uses her Frigidaire Flair to make her dinner the "honest" way (sans nose-wiggling).

Samantha, from Bewitched, uses her Frigidaire Flair to make her dinner the “honest” way (sans nose-wiggling).

Have I got a story for you, my Gentle Readers. 🙂

It’s the story of Whimsy vs. Logic. Thrift vs. Spending. Old vs. New. David vs. Goliath! Dishy turquoise vs. staid silver, baby! Serendipity vs. Bad Luck. It’s the story of abruptly-changed plans that worked out splendidly, despite all. It’s the story of a fabulous new pie recipe! It’s a good storya great story!–that I have been putting off the telling of, lest I not do it justice.

In fact, recently a couple of people in my life prompted me “but aren’t you gonna write about the Flair-–?”

So. A few days ago,  I was lying in the very grips of death (stomach flu and migraine combo, the worst!), suffering in my bed, praying “oh please merciful God who created the glittering universe and all the beautiful things–just let me diiiiieeee”-–one thought–and one thought only— sustained me.

To wit, and anon.

It was this:

I haven’t written down that fabulous Flair story yet! I must write it, before I die. God, if you will let me live, I’ll write it down!

God whispered to me, quite patiently: Make up your mind, my lovely, albeit sick, woman. Do you require death, or do you want to live . . . ?

That spurred on some thought, indeed it did.

Now that I’m sitting up in bed, having improved my physical condition just a mite–instead of being curled in abject—abject, Gentle Reader, and I don’t use that qualifier lightly!--misery under the covers, I do want to live, after all. (I have a new grandchild due this month! I–must–live!) So I’ll make good on my promise, and I’ll indulge in telling you . . . the Flair story. My Flair story. I suspect that you’re going to love this story, Gentle Reader. But pour yourself a cup of coffee, first. It’s a bit lengthy (but worth it!).

Here. We go.

Beginning days of gutting the soon-to-be walk-through pantry.

Beginning days of gutting the soon-to-be walk-through pantry.

In the beginning days of our kitchen remodel, lo, too many months ago for me to recount without blushing, Bryan and Reubsy (our contractor) got into the habit of making an inexorably long list (“size 10 washers and size 2 screws and 13 specific yet varied drill bits”) and sending Amalia and me to town to find items that they were lacking (“6 eight-foot 2x4s, 8 twelve-foot 2x2s, a case of Mountain Dew Live Wire, a bundle of lath, a partridge in a pear tree, also.”) The fellas apparently thought this was the best system ever (“2 sheets of quarter-inch plywood, 16 more 2x4s, you’ll need to sort them and get the straighter ones–you’ll need the trailer this time, and bring home something good for lunch since you won’t be here to make it for us.”) They could stay home, hammering and making sawdust and laughing at scurrilous jokes (all while playing the music du jour very loudly indeed) while the womenfolks were out running the errands.


It was a good system. For the fellas.

They could, after all, take long coffee breaks with nobody the wiser, eat all the Cowboy Coffee Cake, as was their wont, while the females were out making decisions and toting that barge, and hauling heavy items by the trailer-load home. They could talk about “her” (that would be me, or The One Who Shall Remain Nameless) all they liked. And let us not forget “She” talk, as well.

Things like this were undoubtedly said: She better get home quick, we’re nearly out of Cowboy Coffee Cake,” and whatnot.


Not that I resent this a bit. No, not a wit. Not a modicum. Not a tittle, nor a dot. Not a moiety. Not a scintilla, a particle, or a quark. Not a smidgen nor an iota.

Gosh, I wonder why these stories get so long (whistling).

Amalia and I, actually, were okay with this weekend routine. After all, it’s my kitchen that they are making bigger and better and beautifuller. Also: all that sawing and drilling and yelling and singing (Reubsy) and so forth gets loud. And occasionally we’d fit in an errand of our own (“10 for $10 at Goodwill, Mom, let’s stop!”) just for fun. You don’t muzzle the ox, after all, that treads the grain. That’s Biblical, Bryan!

Then one day, Amalia and I discovered the joys of the EcoStore in the nearby city. Our assignment was to go shopping for a door and two windows. “Check the Ecostore first,” suggested Reuben, breezily. “It would be cheaper, and . . . ”

” . . . you never know what you might find there.” 🙂

Those words, uttered with Reuben’s characteristic lighthearted smirk and jollity, would (spoiler alert) eventually come back to bite sweet him on his sweet . . . mmm, let’s just leave it at that. It would come back to bite him. He would come to regret those words, bless his heart.

We didn’t find a door (not for a couple more trips) nor did we find two windows—we got side-tracked right away, as I instantly and forever fell in love with a couple of ancient barrister’s cabinets–oh, Gentle Reader–made of solid (old) walnut, with leaded windows and cast iron handles on the ends–(that’s another story, and I’d be happy to share it, just ask, I’ll even take pictures) and Amalia turned a corner and saw . . . something very special indeed.

This is the lovely door we eventually found--but it took us three visits before we found it.

This is the lovely door we eventually found–but it took us three visits before we found it. 🙂

I was negotiating with a man (Stan) who was quite attached to those walnut cabinets, when Amalia rushed around the corner toward me, gasping, her eyes the brightest I’d ever seen them. And she’s got some pretty bright eyes, my daught. “Mom, come see!And by the way–as a mama of six, I’d like a nickle for every time I’ve heard those words. I’d be sitting pretty, you know. On a big slidey pile of nickles.

“Honey,” I said out of the corner of my mouth. “I’m negotiating here . . . with Stan—can it wait?”

“Just come around the corner, when you are finished,” she panted. “I’ll wait for you.” And she slipped away. Stan was not to be rushed, but we did finally settle on a few more points; I bought the cabinets, after promising to a. not re-sell them to a deplorable antique dealer (as if!) (Stan didn’t seem to be of the opinion that there is any other kind) and b. to send him a picture of what I eventually did with them (this guy was hardcore) and c. to come back and visit him, and soon.*phew* Stan–now my fast friend–took those cabinets very seriously indeed.

Finally. I followed my daughter’s lead, and wended my way around the corner. I was already doing a brisk happy dance over the walnut cabinets. It would have been enough to make my day right there. But no. The EcoStore had another wonderful surprise for me, up its metaphorical sleeve.

And there it was: a Flair stove. My giddy daught was standing next to it, only just containing her excitement.

“Mom! Isn’t this the same stove that Aunt Mollie has? The Bewitched stove? The one that she loves so much? The one that she does all her farmer’s market baking in?”

“Yes!” I whispered, sinking down onto the dirty concrete floor in front of it. I started fiddling with knobs and pulling open oven doors. “At least, I think it is! I know! I’ll send a photo to Mollie and see what she says! . . . that is if I can figure out how to do that with my new ‘phone . . . “


My Flair: genius bargain buy or utter stoopidness?

My Flair: genius bargain buy or utter stoopidness?: sitting on the dirty floor of our garage (and yes, that’s the color of the inside of our garage. (We didn’t choose it.)

I had my new smart ‘phone on me, but I hadn’t actually figured out how to use it yet (cough) however, I suspected that it was capable of taking pictures, and sending them to other folks, if I could just–figure–it–out–

Happily, my daughter was born knowing these things, so she took my ‘phone out of my hands with a little sigh, took a few pictures, sent them to Mollie, and got a response, all within a few seconds.

Mollie called me back right away, and started peppering me with excited questions. We decided, after a lengthy conversation, that this was a newer model (by a year or two) than hers, but still with the coveted and much-admired double ovens lined with bright shiny chrome. The index card taped to the front said it was $275.00 (with the vent hood) and that it, after all, “worked.”

It was scrawled there in permanent market, right there on an index card, so I knew it had to be true.

“Mollie,” I asked my sister, quite seriously. “Do you love your Frigidaire Flair?”

“Yes, sister, I truly love my Flair,” my sister said.

“What will you do if and when it breaks down?” I asked. I wanted to know.

“I’ll look high and low until I find a replacement Flair, and I will buy it,” Mollie said. Her voice was full of resolve. Conviction. “In. A. Heartbeat.”


My sister Mollie moved into her current home in north-eastern Nebraska several years ago. The home came fully furnished and complete with treasures, including closets full of clothing (a wedding gown!) and a tool shop full of tools, and a fully outfitted kitchen, including the aforementioned and soon-to-be-coveted-by-me Flair stove. Mollie didn’t know much about the odd-looking stove when she moved in, but she became a fan after using it for a short time. She attributes the fact that she is able to turn out 80+ beautiful loaves of bread for farmer’s market each week, partly to her Flair.

Well. The lady manager of the Ecostore budged a bit on the price (I’ve been to Europe; I’m not ashamed to dicker) and said that I had 30 days to bring it back, if for some reason it did not work. The guys at the EcoStore were enthusiastically helpful in loading up the walnut cabinets and my new Flair stove. I didn’t even have to break a sweat, myself. There are some perks to being a lady approaching middle age. Most people assume that no muscle comes with age (whatever), and they’ll do the heavy toting for me.

Too bad that doesn’t work at home. 🙁

Those guys, friendly and bulging with muscle, took care of everything, including strapping those babies down in the trailer so they wouldn’t move on the jiggly trip home. And–for the record–I never heard any of them utter the phrase “there’s one born every minute . . . ” They were gentlemen.

It wasn’t, in fact, until we were on the way home that it occurred to me that perhaps . . . just maybe . . . Reubsy and Bryan wouldn’t be quite as excited as Amalia and me about our finds. If only we had found the door that we were sent to find. Or one of the windows, even. But no. We had failed utterly at finding what they had sent us to find. I posed the question to my patient and optimistic daught, who stopped her cheerful chatter to ponder at this, too.

We both were (uncharacteristically) quiet and reflective, for several long moments.

“What do you think Dad and Reuben will say about our . . . treasures?” I posed the question. We looked at each other. I frowned. Amalia twitched. We said nothing.


“And we didn’t find the windows or the door,” Amalia pointed out, unnecessarily.

“We hardly had time!” I said, warmly. “I had to clinch the deal for the walnut cabinets—”

“And we had to call Aunt Mollie—”

“We had to study every detail of our Flair!”

“Exactly. Basically, Mom, we are blameless–“

“Of course! And the trailer–once they loaded up the cabinets and our Flair–was, after all, quite FULL.”

Justified or no, we really didn’t want to think about what would greet us when we got home.

And that, dear Gentle Reader, is where I will leave you . . . wondering . . . come back for the exciting conclusion of this tale!

In the next installment, the following questions will be answered (I promise):

  • Did the Flair work?
  • How did the guys react at our “good fortune”?
  • How long did the Flair sit in the garage before it was allowed entrance to the house?
  • What animal vomited on the Flair while it sat in the garage (hint: it wasn’t a chicken)?
  • What wondrous and miraculous resources did I uncover, in the area of maintaining a Flair stove?
  • Who is “Tom from California” and why do I owe him, big-time?

These questions and many more will be answered in the next Flair installment, so you’d better come back! (In fact: better to type your email address in the little box up at the right, to make sure you don’t miss it. 🙂

And as always, please accept my humble thanks for popping in and reading all the way to the end . . . !


Ready to read the exciting conclusion? Here it is: The Riveting Denouement!

25 thoughts on “Kitchen Remodel, part 5: the much-ballyhooed Flair story (part 1)

  1. Chef William

    oh boy, the remodel is turning into a short book. Country life is a good life even though it looks like you will have a great kitchen except for the missing doors and windows. Could get a bit drafty and cold in the winter months, but then, you can stand around the Flair and keep warm. Now to the more important item. Have you posted a recipe for the cowboy coffee cake yet. If not, when?

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Soon and very soon, Chef. The recipe for Cowboy Coffee Cake, back by popular demand. 🙂 And I do believe this remodel could actually be turned into a very LONG book. Alas.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Lucy my darling (batting eyelashes, just because she likes to tease) the fronts of the cabinets are still being built. I will reveal all, eventually. *shy smile*

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Sherri, well, since you asked . . . (ahem) . . . I figure that 100 years(ish) might be the longest I might live, if my body and mind hold out that long—-ergo—-if I’m flirting somewhere within the middle of that lifespan, I am (conceptually and literally) mushing about in middle age. Make sense?

  2. AnneMarie

    You are a masterful storyteller! I am excited to see how this one ends!!!!!!
    Also-I tried out your Swedish pancake recipe the other day, and I loved it!!!! We filled our pancakes with sauteed veggies and cream cheese for dinner, and I decided that I simply must make them more often, with many different fillings. Thanks for sharing that with all of us!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oooh, that sounds like a really good filling, Anne Marie. You can use your imagination and fill them with nearly anything.

  3. Nathana Clay

    I really quite enjoy your stories! Such a cliffhanger! I often feel like the older appliances work so much better. Things used to be made better I suppose. Expect for our green push button stovetop in our last rental. The burners were always at a slant. Drove us crazy!

  4. Kay

    You are KILLING ME HERE!!! You’re remodel is going so well, I’m a bit jealous. (eye-balling certain cracks in my still-new living room walls) And my kitchen, while I love and it certainly treats me very well (patting my new Bosch dishwasher that is quiet and cleans so well and most importantly, DRAINS! and I won’t blame it for starting the whole project, because I got subway tile in my kitchen and got rid of the ugly, disgusting old plastic tiles.)
    What was I saying… oh yes, get on with it woman! Tell us the ending or show us photos of the cabinets or post the recipe for the Cowboy Coffee Cake or at the very least a chicken happening or two. (PS I almost bought garden seeds today at the farm store. Is it too early to start tomato seeds?? Or maybe cabbage & broccoli would be better? And, HELP! my BEF wants to do away with the garden spot. He says we don’t’ need so much work and yet we are eating still from that large garden spot. He is hesitant to dig up the over-grown (ahem, weedy) flower bed and make that into our veggie garden, which was my suggestion. What should I do?? signed: Torn Between 2 Gardens)

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh my, Kay, please don’t be jealous. Remember that I write about what I consider might be interesting and/or helpful to my Gentle Readers, so I leave lots out. Now I’d start a big long list of things that have gone wrong, but though it might be interesting it would only serve (frankly) to depress me AND you. ‘Nuff said! Did you have somebody install your subway tile, or did you do it yourself?

      Okay, okay, I’m working on the Part II Flair story, not to worry! Also a recipe for Cowboy Coffee Cake and also something really, really surprising that we found INSIDE THE STOVE . . .. but wait! I don’t want to reveal my hand! My hand must keep tightly chested for a few more days. hehee 😉 MY FRIEND, YES it’s too early to start tomato seeds, but you could start eggplant and peppers in pots inside nearly any day now. You might get away with starting cabbage and broccoli, if you have some inside lights for them to grow under. OR you could go out (according to my friend Gene, who seems to know a thing or two about planting) and sprinkle spinach seed on the snow (on top of a prepared bed) and you’ll have baby spinach very early. Do away with your garden spot? Are you mad, woman??

  5. Pingback: Kitchen Remodel, part 5B: the Flair story: the Riveting Denouement! -

  6. Jacquie

    I have a Mayfair Pink Custom Imperial Frigidaire Flair, and it is amazing! Truly love this stove! So glad I have it! I use it daily and would never give it up!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Mayfair Pink? Oh JAcquie, these must be very uncommon. Congratulations! I have really enjoyed hearing other folks’ Flair stories. There is quite a big club of Flair Lovers out there, I’ve discovered!

  7. Brad Fischer

    As my home has a 1966 Flair Custom Imperial wall oven and countertop stove, I’ve often gone down the Flair research rabbit-hole, so here goes: There were three different models of the Flair used on Bewitched… Since they were supplied by the sponsor, GM, they updated all the appliances a few times to show off the latest ones (Stove, Fridge, Washer Dryer). Your Flair is the first one (1964 model RCIH-645) used in Season 1 and half of Season 2. The second half of Season 2 featured the 1965 model (RCI-645J), and Season 3 thru 6 featured the 1966 model (RCI-645K) in Yellow. (The colorized episodes of Season 1 and 2 took some liberty with the color on the panel of the 1964, which was grey and not tan. The cabinet color was made up as well, as they kinda made it avocado, which was not an available color (Yellow, Mayfair Pink, Turquoise, Aztec Copper or White.). There was a fire on the set of Bewitched between Season 6 and 7 which destroyed the kitchen, so when they rebuilt the sets, they “remodelled” and went with different appliances (don’t think they were Frigidaire, as GM was no longer a sponsor at this point). Fun!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Brad, much of this is news to me! Thank you so much for sharing it. Would you mind if I shared it in updates on my blog?

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