Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Cereal Box...



The kitchen, yellow and red,
with a breakfast nook
and small corner hutch
painted blue with vegetable decals;
our black and copper dachshund,
Frankie, holing-up
under a Tappan gas stove,
chewing on a bone,
daring us to pull him out.

In the back yard, a Victory Garden,
and when the family drove
in the 1940 Pontiac
to downtown Glendale for dinner,
the restaurant--Robin Hood--
had a smokey bar,
where my parents had one drink
while Scott and I took turns

holding a pretend rifle,

then shooting a light beam
at a small, pacing “Jap soldier.”
Do I set the scene?

I was then seven,

now seventy-seven
with everyone gone, of course,

Mother and Father, Aunt, Uncle,
and Cousin. My brother survives.

I can’t remember the cereal’s name,
but it was something sweet and crunchy,
Pep, or yes, Krumbles, that’s it!

After school one day at RD White--
lingering playground sounds--
I got off the bus,

with one thing in mind,
ran mostly home, changed
from the school-plaid dress
into jeans

while my sweet Mother was reading,
and found the box up high.

Pulling the Krumbles out

hand over fist,
then shoveling them
into my mouth made me feel
like a successful little thief…
something that would haunt me later.

Imagine my surprise, when
I began to chew that first mouthful!
Making the ugly face,

I spit it out in the sink,
then looked down, and
saw that battlefield of black ants
struggling to survive.

Into the garbage can outside--all!

It was on that day in 1945
just before the war ended,
that I discovered firsthand
how ants under attack
secrete formic acid for defense.
Later on, Scott become a chemist,
while I fell into poetry
how unwittingly I'll never know.


They say what
we eat defines us,
but I think it is
what we remember,
like early stolen kisses
and repeating sounds
--annoying at times--
but always there

in our mind, echoing
as if down a long hall.

4.3.10 Kay Weeks

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, Krumbles. We certainly ate some strange food in those days. In Hawaii, we were under strict food rations during the war and ate lots of Spam, reconstituted milk (ugh--that is why I hate milk to this day), oleo, which we colored ourselves to make it look like butter, among others. I have blocked out that information in my brain!

Friend in Cambridge, MD

Anonymous said...

Yes I do.

You write that you are 77. Why?

A friend from CA asked me this. I told him it was called "lying your way to the truth." I am not 77, but thought it was parallel because the experience happened when I was 7, which is also probably not true. Such is memoir...

Anonymous said...

Of course, the narrator or painter can skew the facts. That is what we do. Otherwise, people can read history books and look at pictures. That is why it is fun being creative--we can create.

Trudy B.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember that cereal, but probably the wagon train just didn't get that particular kind delivered to South Dakota! (which, as you know, is out in the sticks) Cheerios and Rice Krispies -- that's about it for my memory bank. Wheaties. Grape Nuts. Still around and kicking (and snapping, crackling and popping!).

KO from Redmond, WA

Anonymous said...

Kay... what a charming, original BLOG. I intend to read this one several times so I don't miss anything. Your blog features would make a nifty book...

Trudy J. Sundberg
Whidbey Island, WA

Denee Barr Art News and More said...

Thank you for the Blessing!
Captain Crunch, Frosted Cornflakes, The Jetsuns, Dennis The Menace, The Flintstones, etc.
Wonderful to cross the generations and to remember and share through all times...I enjoyed this posting and knowing of the experiences, thoughts, the recollections...