Bio Note: Reaching into the way-back machine of my second book for June’s poem about my parents and the house where I grew up. My new book, Threnody, is forthcoming from Moon Tide Press near the end of 2021.
My mother loved orange, said it was cheerful and Frank Sinatra’s favorite color. Interior decoration was her hobby. She read in Better Homes and Gardens that bright accessories make a house cozy: so, the paddle of the churn and the handle of the coffee grinder and all the old things brought from barns in Oklahoma to decorate our house in Early American were painted orange. She put quilts on all the beds, shuttered the windows, and covered the floors with rag rugs, sewed white eyelet dust ruffles, and saved S&H Green Stamps for a maple milking stool and a milk glass lamp. My father was a do-it-yourselfer who worked at his Shopsmith, building plate rails and knickknack shelves and maple cabinets to hide the TV and Hi Fi. He laid a used-brick façade part way up the front of the house and though he said all painters are crazy, did the painting himself. My father hated green— made him think of the Depression and the green paint his mother had gotten for free: the green paint that covered everything in their house, outside and inside including the furniture. Green made him think of the Army the PO, the DMV and the telephone company he worked for. Still, he rolled and rolled the walls green, the perfect background for orange.
Originally published in Deep Red, Event Horizon, 1993
©2021 Donna Hilbert
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