In August 1970, in the peak of peach season, my father-in-law helped my husband and I move our few belongings from Bay City to my mother’s basement in Warren. My childhood storehouse of memories.
The second of Mom’s five daughters, at nine years old I ran to the furthest corner in the basement and cried when our dog Ginger died. Years later, overlooking the washtub, washing machine and dryer, I observed Mom’s meticulous methods with her Sunbeam iron and Brother sewing machine.
Another unforgettable marker of my generation, I first heard the Beatles sing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” while my eighth-grade cheerleading squad practiced our cheers on the basement’s unfinished floor. Before my Sweet Sixteen birthday party, Dad installed tile. A home improvement Mom, my sisters, and I appreciated.
My temporary return to my childhood home at six months pregnant, however, did not meet my expectations of independence and marital bliss.
Typical of the times, many young men eligible for the draft found themselves unemployed, college degree or not. Therefore, Mel’s father suggested his son pursue work in the Detroit area and offered to help us move. Mom offered the sofa-bed in her basement.
Unbeknownst to me, the day prior, my older sister and her husband transferred their furniture from Mom’s basement into their first home, weeks before my sister’s due date with Mom’s first grandchild.
When my father-in-law, husband, and I arrived at my mother’s home, she served her delicious spaghetti dinner with peach shortcake for dessert. My first taste of ripe peaches, cake, and whipping cream instantly created a craving for the flavor.
Her daughter who ate to live, Mom said, “Why Iris, you must be eating for the baby.”
By the end of peach season and a month’s imposition upon Mom’s hospitality, she declared, “I won’t be a bit surprised if your baby is born with a peach on its nose.”
Today, eight household relocations and fifty-one years of marriage behind, I climbed my ladder and harvested four baskets heavy with blushing fruit—more than enough for fresh peach shortcake, a shelf-full of peach preserves, and frozen peaches for winter crisps and cobblers served with ice cream.
Oh, and enough to share a basket with our youngest daughter, our one and only child close by to pass on our bounty.
For as my father said when he delivered the Red Haven peach tree we left in the backyard of our home in Detroit, “This is the sweetest and hardiest variety. Water it good and it will bear more than you can eat.”
Dear Reader, yesterday I craved peach shortcake, so I baked scones, peeled ripe peaches and whipped heavy cream blended with cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla. After Mel and I finished the last bite of our first peach dessert of the season, we peeled and sliced eight quarts of fruit for the freezer and a bowlful for preserves.
Then I carried God’s abundant blessing to the basement. My maternal storehouse of memories.
Contact Iris at firstname.lastname@example.org.