Nanny’s kitchen

The floor was red linoleum. The walls
cream above the molding and red 
to the floor. There was one window 
over the table where we
ate weekday dinners, where 
Nanny sat and minced lettuce, carrots
and onions on a piece of newspaper before
adding mayonnaise... or was it Miracle Whip
to make her signature salad. 

A stranger surprised Nanny at the 
kitchen door while she held that same
knife. Looking right at him, whatever
she said made him leave, quickly.

The little refrigerator with creamery ice cream in
ice cube trays and glass storage bowls
with cloth caps. On top sat the radio often
playing Just Plain Bill, Ma Perkins or 
The Romance of Helen Trent. A small trash can with
step peddle held a tiny amount of trash and
garbage, most of it 
being cut up for the birds or reused.

During heat waves, my mother and
her sister dragged their mattress down
to the kitchen and slept on the red floor
between the open doors of kitchen and
living room. A small cool in the Detroit
summer of heat.

The summer we stayed there, my sister and I 
sat at the table evenings with Poppy. He 
drinking a big glass of buttermilk, while
we played Sorry! eating Ritz crackers topped
with grated cheese.

Summer Saturdays after dinner, Nanny 
and our mothers washed the dishes, 
a pan of dishwater and one for
rinse water, while my sister, cousins and I
played in the backyard. Unlike at home,
we were never asked to help. Now
I know they enjoyed the time together,
talking without interruption.


One thought on “Nanny’s kitchen”

  1. This is so vivid- the imagery so strong! I really like how you capture both childhood & adult perspectives and honor them both by capturing the freedom of playing & being released from chores in one sentences AND then recognizing that the adults too were experiencing a welcome change in visiting with each other sans kids in the next. Brilliant!
    & lovely.


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