Business, Domesticity and Belonging

Business and domesticity

Unevenly share space

Mom and I work at home.

Like the wildflowers (we’ll call them that)

Rooming with bulbs planted by Great-granny Snider

Work spreads full and thick

Through plots of time meant for dusting.

I belong to the savvy survivor, thriver, and like her

My garden gets cluttered

My closets are packed

We smile and say they resemble our brains

Full of color and curl

If you wait long enough to clean

It feels like shopping–

Old items await rediscovery.


Business and domesticity take turns

Today, after a meeting

I spent my lunch break

Cleaning and cooking bacon

Onions, potatoes, a jalapeño

The breeze took the scent

Out my open screens and my heart went

To the tiny kitchen by the Admiral Twin

With the original cabinets from 1952,

Summers when Wendy and I played in the water hose

While Grandma Colleen cooked with bacon grease.

I never knew fried potatoes and a breeze

Could make a girl younger

But there I was, hearing music and machines

And Grandpa’s shout from the garage that still fills my dreams

I belong to love that lasts, gentle patience and daily laughs.


Business gave way at 6pm

When I heard Grandma Roberta sing

And followed her voice

Not to heaven, where I’m sure

Her new body has extra fingers and feet

To fly along the organ keys

No, I’m not there yet, but I followed her song

To the garden

And felt strong

Put on my tough gloves

Uncovered the dainty, choking bulbs.

Bag after bag of weeds


And her freckled forearms rippled from my sleeves to my wrists

I belong to the strong, earthy, eternal

Who left her song in my garden tonight.


The women in my life have made the mundane memorable. My mother’s been a creative entrepreneur since I was in middle school. When I was growing up, my Grandma Colleen wrote me letters, just to stay in touch. Those letters went something like, “I did two loads of laundry. I’ll start the ironing in a little bit…” I can’t iron without thinking of her, and it drives me nuts that my laundry room never smells as nice as hers. I spent summers with her, and I  lived with Grandma Roberta in high school. One day during my senior year, a boy came to visit. I asked if he wanted to meet Grandma ‘Berta. He said, “Sure, where is she?”

“Outside using a chainsaw to cut down tree limbs.” He chose to wait for another time.

The spring Grandma Colleen passed away, I wrote a book using the pictures she’d given me and the stories Grandpa Fred told. I gave it to Grandpa Fred for his birthday, and it was one of the best nights of my life.  My life is a sketch colored in by those I love, past and present. There are so many more unrecorded family stories that my friends Donna Branch and Jennifer Owens and I are starting a series of family books. Once we’ve tested our program and created our own story collections, we’ll be inviting you to join us. Start taking notes!

Michael Bridges
Michael Bridges

7 Responses

  1. Love your memories Sweetheart!!!
    I’m so thankful just to know you but more specially, to get the privilege of being your mom!

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