Kitchen Drawer

The kitchen drawer at my mother’s house
squeals in protest and needs a bit of prodding
before opening fully.  Sixty plus years of mustiness
greet my nose as I push aside the Better Homes and
Gardens cookbook that her mother had given to her as a young bride and now is barely being held together by its aged binding.
The pages that hold the lemon meringue pie, meatloaf and
the favorite appetizer recipes I learned to make
as a teenager are loose-leaf pages just stuck
in anywhere in the ancient but beloved book.
Here are hand-written family recipes neatly
stored in the front cover of the book,
so we always know where to find them.
I’m searching for the pair of scissors that have
been kept here as long as I can remember.

Where have they gone to I wonder,
as I shuffle through the odds and ends
and scraps of paper with important numbers and
names written on them–long ago forgotten–no longer
of any significance.  There are paper clips, rusting
and bent out of shape, tacks that still have sharp points
and pens that have long ago had their ink run dry and
pencils that are stubs with erasers worn down to flat, dark nubs.
Why haven’t they been thrown out?

Here’s an old school photo of one of us kids from back in elementary, folded and wrinkled such that there are lines across the child face.  Dust coats the bottom of the drawer, as I rifle through and dig deeper to find too many green and red rubber bands of assorted shapes and sizes, always saved, “just in case”.  Now breaking as I stretch them, long ago worn out–no longer having any snap.  Here’s a neatly clipped together stack of receipts dated from the 60s.

Several broken Crayola crayons have drawn on the bottom of the drawer over time–leaving squiggly muted lines–smudged.
A prescription bottle with remnants of some medicine needed to help fight an illness–was that from when three of us
had the mumps at the same time?
Lifetimes of all of us, still living in this one drawer–
a small slice of life–
everything contained within holding a story of how it came to be here.

But where are those scissors…?

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Leave a comment


  1. Great meemories, when I go to my grandma’s houseits the same. I used to have a better homes and garden cookbook, saved my. Life,lol!


    • Thank you, Paulo. Isn’t it interesting how most households have one of these drawers? I still do have one of those old cookbooks too–I can’t remember where it came from. Thanks for sharing too!


  2. In my house growing up it was called the junk drawer, but still in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing. It was good to remember those feelings you reflected.


  3. Oh I love this. I’m up visiting my mom now. I’m going to have to do some snooping and get some inspiration like that. One of my favorite poem (that I wrote) is the same kind of thing, only it was her den where I’m sitting right now! Thanks, Gayle


    • How cool that you wrote a similar poem about your mother’s den and you’re there at her house right now. Doesn’t everyone have a “junk” drawer like this somewhere in their home–usually the kitchen? So happy you enjoyed this–thank you, Victoria.


  4. Gayle, this is absolutely lovely. We share such memories and you have brought them back beautifully for all of us. I even have that cookbook, though I don’t use it. Ha! Kudos to you for this. Made my evening. Thank you! I’ll be back to read it again.


    • I would think most people can relate to these memories with a drawer like this in their home. My mother’s drawer has literally been there for over 60 years–she still lives in the same house where we were all brought up. I’m so happy you enjoyed this enough to want to come back and re-read!

      Now you’ve made my day! Thanks, Jamie. xoxo


      • Hi, Gayle!

        Thanks for visiting us at Into the Bardo. Last night, Rob responded to your comment on his Stroke of Insight post.

        I had as much fun rereading this poem as I did the first time, Gayle. I call my drawer like that “my everything drawer.” I know. It’s kind of silly, but really that’s what it is.

        Best wishes for a wonderful Friday and weekend. I’m on the run with out-of-town company. Hooray! 🙂

        Big virtual hugs to you!


      • I really enjoy the postings at Into the Bardo. I was off the computer all day Friday so just saw Rob’s response to me just now. Have you read that remarkable book, Jamie?

        Those drawers really do have a bit of “everything” in them don’t they–seemingly. Haha… cute name.

        Enjoy your company and weekend, Jamie! Great big hugs back to you!

        Gayle xoxo


  5. P.S. – Love the photo –


  6. Dear to my heart is my own Mother’s cookbook with her hand written recipes. Such a lovely poem that transcends time and creeps into others’ realities and homes. Yes. Where are those scissors?!?! 🙂


    • We have recipes that my grandmother wrote out–those are a real treasure. She was an amazing cook and baker.

      So glad this touched you and your memories, Leslie. Thank you! 😉


  7. No spring cleaning for memories 🙂


  8. Incredible how you think your own drawers are unique..but then you write this and I wonder..when did you come to our hose and rifle through our drawers?!?!?! 🙂
    Great write 🙂


  9. fabulous poem gayle, reminded me of my own drawers 🙂 when i was a teenager.


  10. I really identified with this one..the drawer, the cookbook, the recipes, the memories.

    Good images of the drawer, the musty smell and the tattered book.


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