Friday, January 15, 2010


I am home from work today, feeling a little under the weather, a little happy to be home. Probably happier than I should be, but not going to work is exhilarating, even when it is legit.

My blog suffers from my busyness, my consumption with the need to make a living. I wish I was one of those women who could live simply to simply live, but I don't know how to not work. (Today being a notable exception...) and I don't know how to live on less. I live on more. and more. and more.

I have been thinking about my mother lately, about how hard she worked, and for so little. At one point she was a night-shift janitor at the Bear Creek bakery (Harry and David, now Jackson and Perkins), a huge warehouse factory orchard business in the Rogue Valley where everyone has worked at one time or another. I have. She swept their floors, washed gigantic and heavy pots and pans. She mopped -- three times every night: wet mop, damp mop, and dry mop. Its funny what you remember. She worked with a crazy person who thought a big black dog followed him everywhere, who had suffered more than one crib death in his family. She brought home tins of pineapple macadamia cake, and broken bits of fruitcake that we'd have for breakfast. She raised five children without benefit of welfare -- some of the "children" long beyond the age of maturity -- maturity being a somewhat ambiguous term in my family. I remember she saved anything left after bills very carefully and bought a dinette set: six chairs around a small, oval formica table with one leaf, upholstered in the latest mandarin orange and avocado green vinyl print. She was so proud of that little set, which I now know was a cheap thing, but it meant so much to her to make our house a home. Everything was mandarin and avocado, with chocolate brown accents, all of the wood pieces "antiqued" white with gold and avocado highlights. I think that was in the sixties. Yes. With Aretha playing in the background, one brother in VietNam, one passed out on the [avocado green] sofa and one playing quarterback for Medford, the best looking kid in school, my sister not yet on methadone.

As I go through my excess, attempting to put together a yard sale in the spring, and I continue to acquire more and more, I think of how hard she worked, and how little we had, and how much we appreciated small things.

Ah well, poverty follows me like a stray dog that just won't go home. Or is home.

1 comment:

asha said...

Your mother's house sounds delicious.

I always felt T.S. Eliot spoke for me when he wrote, "a tawdry cheapness shall outlast our days" but you can have it too. If you like.