Personally Speaking

[I asked production editor Brie Cohen to blog about one of the recent releases from Lerner Publications. She took it to a personal level!]

I buzzed a friend into my apartment building recently, and a few minutes later received a phone call from that friend.

“I can’t find your apartment. There are so many doors but hardly any numbers.”

“Just keep walking, I’ll come out into the hallway,” I said.

Yes, there are a lot of doors going into that apartment hallway. In my teeny one-bedroom apartment, I have two of those doors. One door has the apartment number on it and leads into my small living room. The other door has no number. And in my 15 months of living there, I have never opened it. It butts up against the refrigerator in the small kitchen.

The apartment was built in 1929, and that door was for the iceman, the apartment manager told me while touring the place.

For those of you with modern living spaces who might be unclear about what an iceman did, the iceman delivered ice to homes to use in iceboxes. Iceboxes were used before refrigerators were invented to keep food cold.

24_iceman A picture of an iceman (left) Is from the book From Washboard to Washing Machines: How Homes Have Changed.


This is a fun title in the Lightning Bolt Books series called Comparing Past and Present (sample cover above right). The series shows what household tools were used in the past and compares them with what many people use today.

I decided to see what else in my apartment is considered a tool of the past in my 1929 living quarters and took some pictures with my camera phone. Here’s the door for the iceman, to the side of my refrigerator.


Don’t touch that radiator! I have burned my leg a few times on this during a cold winter night. Compare it to the one in our book. Looks pretty similar, doesn’t it?


I wash my dishes in this sink, which looks very much like the sink pictured in the From Washboard to Washing Machines: How Homes Have Changed book. The sinks even have the same soap holder on top of the faucet! Oh, how I wish I had a dishwasher.


Retro is “in,” right?

­—Brie Cohen

One thought on “Personally Speaking

  1. Anna Cavallo

    Oh, historic Minneapolis apartments! What a fun post, Brie. My old apartment had all these too. I have to say, good riddance to those sinks–mine splashed water all over me whenever I washed dishes. Or my hands. Or… anything. 🙂

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