Roller Skating in the House
The lumbering Iowa farmhouse had a back room
with downhill linoleum to roller skate on,
a cob-burning stove, where my mother
sewed up baby pigs, stepped on by mother sows.
A cubbyhole under the stairs,
a musty mousy smell,
where Dad kept his watch and billfold
and unfiltered Camels.
A front room, closed off in winter,
a locked room upstairs where Mom
kept her hope chest of high school mementos,
her aqua formal gown, Dad’s Air Corps uniform.
A big front porch, where we watched,
wrapped in stove-warmed blankets, for Sputnik,
before Dad tore down my castle to build
my mother a small green mouse-free house.
That old house was lived in. It was alive.
Must have been taken shortly after we moved there, hadn’t been painted yet. That 1939 Chevy had a loud country horn and a softer city horn! The toggle switch was on the dash.
I remember your telling us about the country horn and the city horn!
A mouse-free house?! Where do I sign up?😉 A very descriptive poem.
This poem does paint a picture! (Lots of memories painted here..)
Thank you, Linda. I’m experimenting with it as a way to hone my wordiness to essence. You’ve certainly encouraged me!
I just read the story about your grandmother and her cactus. I felt like I was right there on the porch!
I just love this poem!! So much living in a few short lines.
Oh, you’re so encouraging. Thank you!
You’re welcome, Joy! I have a great appreciation for your poetry.
I love the details in this poem! And billfold! That is a word from my youth. I haven’t heard anybody in California or Arizona use that word. The image of the pigs, though. How horrifying!
Bless you, Luanne!
My mother Luella, in her memoir, wrote about moving into a farmhouse in late 1918, Buffalo Center, Iowa, she was nine years old. She wrote that she and her sister Leone roller skated in the attic. I have the Christmas ornament she found there, a Santa in a blue suit.
I love your story, Beth!