My son Jaden has become a milkshake fan, using the Hamilton Beach Model 10 “Malt Mixer” Jay’s grandfather Ruby bought in the late 1920s or early 1930s. This 90+ year-old appliance plugs into the wall, I think with the original cord. It works great.

It’s strange to imagine a time when an appliance was built to last 100 years, and to think of all the scenes the Malt Mixer has seen. But when Jaden is busy whirling up an Oreo-chocolate shake, I tend to get visions of my own avocado and wheat-colored childhood kitchen.

I remember the vivid thrill of anticipating treats like pancakes, waffles, and cinnamon toast as they were created with our 1970s appliances. My parents had a squeeze bottle dedicated to the sugar-and-cinnamon that you’d pour onto white, buttered bread before carefully putting it into the top rack of the big oven. (If there was already such a thing as a toaster oven, we had not heard of it.)

There was the prized real maple syrup. You had to pour just a little, and when a taste test revealed that we liked the fake Mrs. Butterworth’s just as much, the tin of authentic syrup was strictly for adults, though we were allowed to use it to make rock candy, which forms when you attach a string into a small jar of maple-syrup water. Days and days and days later the string has grown sugar crystals that make a crunchy candy, though watch out for the pulpy string in the middle. I imagine no kid with access to wifi would wait for such a “treat” today.

Both my parents grew up in Ohio, where I guess there were maple trees and the right conditions, so for them maple syrup was probably a nostalgic portal to their own 1940s childhood memories. Here’s my mom sitting on a stack of firewood, and showing off a pumpkin.

Back in my own kitchen, I find myself musing on a future, adult Jaden in some kitchen 20 or 30 years from now. I’m guessing even if he doesn’t have the Hamilton Beach Model 10 Malt Mixer, he’ll have memories of our kitchen, and his favorite treats. Of course I have no idea what he’ll think of, or where he’ll be. It’s unknowable.

But I imagine, I hope, that his memories will warm and connect him to now. That like me he’ll pull strength remembering sweet moments from long ago, along some channel back to my childhood waffles, Jay’s Grandpa Ruby’s milkshakes in 30s LA, and all the other domestic proofs of love that keep us going.