late breaking news:
Although I have about a weeks worth of recipes backed up and ready to post, today I want to share with you something more personal. A little family history.
My mother’s maiden name is Lorts. My grandfather, Andrew Lorts, founded Lorts Manufacturing in 1966 – right here in Phoenix, Arizona and produced large Early American-style pieces – including dining tables, occasional tables, bars, and roll-top desks.
The very lovely picture at the top of this post is of my family in front of the Lorts bar we had in my childhood home. I am 11 years old in this photo, so please think of your eleven-year-old self and do not judge!
In this next picture, I am a much cuter 5 year old, on a family camping trip. Pictured with me are my older brother, Dennis, and my grandfather. Peeking out behind me is my grandparent’s beloved dog, Thumper.
And behind all of us is one of the very first trucks used by Lorts Manufacturing. If you zoom in on the writing below the tarp, you might be able to make out “Black Canyon Freeway” which was where the original “factory” was located, at I-17 and Indian School. We always called it “The Factory” and I always adored going there! I loved the smell of the sawdust and the flat 2-inch thick tennis ball-sized wood pieces we were allowed to pick up and take home. My dad would drive out there to get “kindling” – scrap wood for our fireplace.
This is what the later day trucks (or trailers) looked like.
My grandparents had eight kids, my mom is the oldest. Following her are 3 more girls, then two boys, and finally 2 more girls.
Here they are with their birth order numbers: Uncle Harry (5), Aunt Patti (8), Aunt Dottie (2), Grandfather, Uncle Mike (6), Aunt Beverly (7), my mom – Mary Lou (1), Aunt Katie (4), and Aunt Madeline (3).
The youngest of the two boys, my Uncle Mike, succeeded as owner of the company in 1982. Then in 2005, his son, my cousin Ty, and his wife Michelle bought Lorts and still own and operate it to this day. To say that the style of furniture has evolved with the times would be to say the least. Lorts now makes trendsetting, drop dead, gorgeous furniture and I’m proud to say I own at least a half dozen pieces.
My dad no longer has the bar, but still owns a dining table and chair set and one of the original large roll top desks Although this photo of one is not his, but lifted from Google images – his is an even bigger mess than this one!
So what brought about all this talk of the Lorts side of my family? Michelle, Ty’s beautiful wife, bought two places in my 3-week cooking series at Les Gourmettes for Ty as a Christmas gift this past year. The classes wrapped up last night and Ty posted about me and the classes on the Lorts Manufacturing blog yesterday. That is so sweet and just made my heart sing. So, the very least I could to was to reciprocate and tell you all about Lorts! Lorts has always been a major point of family pride and to know that this has been kept in our family for over 45 years, is really saying something!
So, thank you Ty and Michelle. Thank you Uncle Mike and Sylvia. And thank you to my beloved Grandfather, whom I adored and miss now and always.
Best Friends and Brothers – my Great-Uncle Harry Lorts and my Grandfather, Andrew Lorts, at my Aunt Bev’s wedding – maybe some 37 years ago. I have no doubt that these two wonderful men are now playing gin rummy together in heaven.