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late breaking news:

Many of you already realize that I almost always put my posts up at the same time every morning. The exact time is 10:27 AM… just in case you did not know.

Not today.

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 the 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, lifted from Google images – Dad’s is 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 do 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.

It was one of the greatest pleasures of my life to have been able to know you and for you to love me as you did. And I loved you very much too. In fact, I still do. 

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.


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1 Peggy { 05.17.12 at 6:40 PM }

Very cool “late Breaking” post Linda.

2 Marissa { 05.17.12 at 7:22 PM }

Awwwww Grandfather. He was the best. I love his tux for Aunt Bev’s wedding.

3 Sheila { 05.17.12 at 9:42 PM }

I love hearing the stories but most of all adore the photos! It IS an amazing accomplishment that your family has seen the value of keeping the company in the family so long.

4 Sloane { 05.17.12 at 9:43 PM }

wow so next time give me the heads up when you post pics of me!
That looks like our family mugshot, I am sure someone was grounded that day!

5 Linda Hopkins { 05.17.12 at 9:48 PM }

Thank you Peggy and Shelia. (Shelia, good times today and thank you for also taking my Series!)
Marissa, that truly IS one awesome tux!
And Sloane, from the looks of the crossed arms and scowling faces, I’d guess that you and Dennis were both grounded and from Andy’s smirky smile – I would bet he was the snitch on at least one of you. On the other hand, I am wearing my angelic “Daddy’s girl” face, so it was most likely me who caused all the trouble originally. Some people just get away with it more often! LOL and Love you! xoxo

6 Tram Mai { 05.18.12 at 1:49 PM }

What a sweet heartfelt post!! You know what caught my eye was the “late breaking news”!!! (Don’t scare me like that woman!! I thought it was something bad, thank goodness it wasn’t!) xoxo

7 Linda Hopkins { 05.18.12 at 2:14 PM }

Sorry Tram, never thought of that 🙂 Instead, here is how the thought process went… “Hey I’m really putting up this post late in the day. I know, I’ll call it ‘Late Breaking News’, now won’t that be clever of me?” Oops. Oh well, love ya, xoxo

8 Beverly Bertrand { 05.21.12 at 8:01 AM }

I really enjoyed the pictures and the memories. We all had soooo much fun. The camping trips, weekends at our house swimming, Holidays at your house, trips to Michagan and your visits to see me in California. So many GREAT memories!!!!!

9 Uncle Mike { 05.21.12 at 1:09 PM }

Wow!! Were we ever that young. I do miss my dad and uncle.
Thanks so much for these memories.

10 Aunt Dottie { 05.21.12 at 4:50 PM }

Linda, You are such a wonderful writer. I enjoyed the story and all the pictures. Love, xoxo

11 Aunt Patty { 05.25.12 at 7:45 PM }


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