The Louis Armstrong Memorial Dishwasher
By Nick Friedman
· June 3, 2018
As my wife and I reviewed plans to finally renovate the dowdy kitchen in our Cobble Hill house two decades after moving in, we steeled ourselves to bid a fond farewell to the Louis Armstrong Memorial Dishwasher.
The Louis Armstrong Memorial Dishwasher had come with the kitchen; the honorific had not. Back then it was a just a battered appliance of indeterminate age, a KitchenAid Imperial model KDI-16 that we were glad to keep because it took an onerous chore off our hands. Its rattle and roar drowned out conversation, but it made our plates sparkle.
We bestowed the name about 15 years ago after one of those classic New York exploratory weekends, this one involving a trip to the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens.
On the tour, we learned that Armstrong’s wife, Lucille, had left the interior of the house unchanged after he died in 1971. When we got to the custom-built kitchen, we spotted it: a circa-1970 KitchenAid dishwasher that looked a lot like ours, but in blue to match the cabinets.
At the gift shop, I bought a postcard of Armstrong blowing his trumpet. I put it in a magnetized frame and stuck it on the front of our KitchenAid.
In a few months, the Louis Armstrong Memorial Dishwasher will perform its final number.