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 Category:  Letters and Diary Fiction
  Posted: January 11, 2021      Views: 33

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I am very happy to be back on this site once again after an absence. I used to be ekpoet here years ago. I hope to be able to contribute with lots of reviews and some new material which I have been working on for the last several years. I have writte - more...

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Those rainy days and Mondays...
"Memories of This World ch. 2" by estory

On a rainy, Monday morning the incandescent light brightened our kitchen. The black and white checkered table sat in the middle of room, and we gathered around it. Monday morning always marked the beginning of the week; school and homework for us, the work week for my dad. We didn't have to leave for school until 8:30 but if we had breakfast at seven, we could catch a glimpse of my father sitting at one of the table, before he had to leave. He would have to load his scaffold into the Ford Econoline van, fold the curtains and load them as well, and thread the bundles of curtain tracks and boxes of casters in there too. He and my uncle hung movie screens and curtains in movie theatres and restaurants in the tri state area. Sometimes I would look up the towns and cities he travelled to on an atlas, wondering about his day while he was far away from us.

My dad stood up, finished his coffee, and kissed my mother goodbye. I asked: "Where are you going today, dad?"

"Danbury, Connecticut," he told me.

Then he put on his jacket and went out the door. He wouldn't be back until dark, after supper.

Still, the radio that had travelled with us from our apartment in Brooklyn to our house in the suburbs was in its place on top of the refrigerator, filling the kitchen with music. Every morning during the week my mother listened to 'Rambling with Gambling' and the soft pop music John Gambling played. Dionne Warwick. Jim Crocce. Simon and Garfunkel. Johnny Matthis. Glen Campbell. Burt Bacharach. The Momas and the Papas. The Carpenters. Today, because it was Monday and raining, he was playing their latest hit: "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.'

My mother, dressed in her blue robe and sitting at one end of the table, looked up from her newspaper and plate of buttered toast. "Do you want toast or cereal?" she asked me.

While I waited for the Wonder Bread to toast, I watched my sisters across the table, eating their Lucky Charms cereal and examining a little plastic toy they had found down in the box when they poured their cereal into their bowls. But the toast that popped up from our old, electric toaster was a warm, golden brown and crunchy, and the jelly was homemade. Every September my mother would spend hours in that kitchen, picking the little, delicate, purple Concord grapes we grew in our backyard off of their stems and heaping them in one of her crock pots. Then she would slowly boil them, stirring and stirring them smooth, mashing them and setting the resulting liquid with pectin to set. She would dole it ladle by ladle into dozens of Ball glass jars, to be stored in a cabinet in the basement where it would supply us for the year ahead. Each one was like a summer of sweet, purple grapes, the most delicious jelly I have ever tasted.

As we finished up our breakfast, one of my sisters asked my mother, "Can we go to the Five and Dime today, after school?"

My mother looked up from her newspaper. You could see in her eyes she was thinking of doing something else. But she smiled in spite of herself. "All right," she said, "I'll drive you up to the store after you do your homework."

Our hearts rose, knowing we had something to look forward to while waiting for our father to come home. Then I could look over the map with him while he told me of his trip, and after, we could watch TV together.

This was how the Mondays went by, one by one, while the calendar crept from January to April, and our school years passed.

Author Notes
This sketch is another childhood memory, of those Mondays in the late sixties when we began to navigate the world of school, and work. Somehow our parents were always there to ground everything, to keep the foundation under our feet, to light the dark, make music in the silence, give us something to look forward to, someplace to come back to. It seems to me now in many ways a golden age that shaped my sense of the world with those snippets of songs like 'Rainy Days and Mondays' or 'California Dreamin,' toys in cereal boxes and those ridiculous cartoons. Through it all, I want to convey the sense of how important the role of our parents was in shaping that world. We were lucky enough to have parents that made the world seem like paradise. estory
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