Old Teacups and Kitchen Witches
by Kate Baker
On the night my grandfather died, we all sat around his kitchen table and marveled at how he’d been able to raise six kids in such a tiny house. While creative with the cramped living space, one bathroom seemed to be enough despite the hustle to get to school and work in the mornings. Especially as children grew into teenagers and time preening before the mirror was at a premium.
There is chaos that comes with illness and death, yet despite piles of unopened mail and neglected dishes and floors, my eyes lingered on the subtle touches that made this house a home. Especially in this kitchen. A wooden hutch still held the “good” glass and dinnerware that my grandparents cherished and thought to protect. Pots and pans of every shape, size, and color hung from racks and peeked out from crowded cabinets. And despite a very thin layer of dust, the spice rack stood at the ready for whatever recipe came along.
My eyes scanned old photographs that hung on the wall and came to rest on a scene of a large family. In all the time I had spent visiting my grandparents, I never remembered seeing this one. Dressed in warm clothes, four kids stared ahead not quite sure what to make of the photographer. No smiles, save for the fifth little girl who looked like my grandmother. She couldn’t have been more than six, and her smile was directed at a very ugly doll that rested in her hands. Someone had written “1943” on the lower left corner which only intrigued me more. I was about to push my chair away to take a closer look when conversation erupted around me.