Mom’s Kitchen

Pop cutting Phils hairLittle Brother Phil getting a hair cut on the kitchen table

At my house growing up, the kitchen was the center of daily activity. It was barely big enough to house a stove, a fridge, a cabinet, and a table.  The kitchen was a hum with my mom cooking, canning, or baking. I loved licking chocolate off the spatula and beaters after she mixed up a cake.

In the winter, it became the laundromat, where underwear hung on a wooden rack. like spokes on a wheel. My mom and sister sprinkled clothes from the basement and placed them rolled up into the wicker basket to be ironed. The ironing board was set up in the hallway between rooms with steam hissing all morning long as they pressed the shirts, slacks, and dresses.

Off to the side was the pantry with a large porcelain sink and a tall set of cupboards for storing dry goods. I can still see my father cleaning chickens from our pen in that sink.  It was a grand time to be alive.

Sleet strikes window panes

Winter clothes pressed and hanging

Pressure cooker sings


Photo from the family album

Today on d’Verse, Lillian asked us to write a haibun following the strictly traditional Japanese rules. It includes a short prose reading followed by a haiku that eludes to something seasonal.  She asked us to go back in our memory to the house we grew up in and pick a room to write about. I chose our family kitchen.

Come join us at:


63 thoughts on “Mom’s Kitchen

  1. Loving the background details of the photo: the canister set, the wallpaper, the cabinets (my guess is they were the metal kind). And your prose portion just takes us there – in more than one season, I especially liked the details of sprinkling the laundry for ironing and the underwear hanging. 😊

    Your haiku takes us to the season well…and hearing the pressure cooker hiss adds that dramatic touch. The only thing missing in the traditional sense of the haiku is that it’s supposed to be about nature. But I still love it and it compliments the prose so well.

    Thank you for sharing a wonderful peek into your childhood home,

    Liked by 2 people

      • Perfect! By changing the first line, you’ve focused the haiku in nature….in the season of winter…and then the shift takes us into the house. Well done! You really didn’t need to change it….I liked it the other way too….it was just not “traditional.” Now it’s traditional….and in reality, you’ve now written a wonderful haiku and the previous one was a wonderful micro poem! I’m certainly not an expert on haiku….learning with everyone. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • I believe the cabinets were metal…. at least the counter top part was a metal porcelain piece that you could pull out to work on. The cannisters in the back were metal and had flour, sugar, and ?? The kitchen table was used for everything. The floor had linoleum with big twelve in red and white squares on the pattern.


  2. Great prose and haiku. Mom’s kitchen humming – that’s beautiful. I remember too clothes hanging everywhere in the house for drying. Sheets in the stairwell! And yes, licking the spatula… I sometimes asked my mom: can’t we just eat the batter and leave the cake? She didn’t want to do that, although I’m pretty sure that after she secretly licked the spatula herself, she has been in doubt for a second or two. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Were you in the country? Back in the day, some raised chickens in the city; harder to do now ( though I have a neighbor who raises chickens, and it’s fun to watch them in his yard.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Mom’s Kitchen – Timeless Wisdoms

  5. That’s a great photo of your brother, Dwight, and I love the description of your childhood kitchen – so warm and friendly. I bet your friends loved coming round! Who doesn’t love licking cake mixture off a spoon?! We still have one of those wooden racks for washing – ours is on a pulley.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Kim. It was a great place with lots of memories that took place there. Our clothes rack hung on the wall and had a small hinge that allowed all the sticks to be lifted and spread out like a fan.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dwight, what a loving and warming picture you paint of your family and childhood, wonderful. It does seem to me that many people who grew up like this are very harmonious. Every child should have licked the cake mixes.:)

    Thanks for this beautiful visit to your family home.



  7. My parents had 9 children and not that much money, so haircuts were something my mom did. She would cut my hair and then (for a day or 2 after that) every time she saw me–she would say that she just noticed one more piece that she needed to cut. I had to tell her to STOP…..because I was afraid she wouldn’t stop until I had no hair left!!

    Liked by 1 person

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