Bio Note: I was born and raised in the South Bronx. I have lived many places since, from rural New England to Tucson, Arizona. You can take the girl out of the Bronx, but you can’t take the Bronx out of the girl.
Scrubbing the Ceiling
When I was very small, I lived in the Bronx. My mother had a cleaning lady Her name was Rosalie She climbed the stairs to our house. Fifth floor in a walk-up One bedroom apartment. My sisters and I shared the bedroom. My mother and father slept in the living room Two fold-out sofas, set kitty-corner At night, they would move them to line up Unfold them on the parquet floor Then they would face the TV. I was seven, and Sheryll was eight My mother said, Why waste money on the colored girl? You two can help me clean now. Take turns, vacuuming and dusting. Take turns, scouring commode and bathtub. For spring cleaning, we would clean the stove. There was no vent. The gas and cooking steam rose to the ceiling. Stains on the paint. It was my job to scrub those stains. Wendy does it best, Mommy said. She’s tall enough to reach when she stands on the stove. And she’s very strong.
©2020 Wendy Spanglet
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