Home and Fireside | Woman in Real Life:The Art of the Everyday

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Home and Fireside

I went from high school to university to work, breaking only for a couple of maternity leaves. I want to know what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom, greeting my children as they get off the school bus at the end of the day.

For inspiration in the domestic realm, I look to my grandmother, a woman who devoted her life to caring for her husband, her children and her community. She raised four children while cooking, cleaning, crafting beautiful quilts, crocheting and baking up a storm—cinnamon rolls, date squares, tea biscuits, pies—you name it, she made it.

Bright, spunky and witty, she read voraciously—anything from Harlequin novels to poetry. She could recite poems by memory and with a passion that held a listener spellbound. She gradually discarded most of her possessions, but she always held onto her stained, worn copy of The Family Book of Best Loved Poems, given to her as a birthday present by my mother in 1960. I have the book now, and I search the titles, trying to imagine which poems she loved best. I feel certain she took inspiration from poems such as Blanche Bane Kuder’s "The Blue Bowl."

The Blue Bowl
All day I did the little things,
The little things that do not show;
I brought the kindling for the fire
I set the candles in a row,
I filled a bowl with marigolds,
The shallow bowl you love the best-
And made the house a pleasant place
Where weariness might take its rest.

The hours sped on, my eager feet
Could not keep pace with my desire.
So much to do, so little time!
I could not let my body tire;
Yet, when the coming of the night
Blotted the garden from my sight,
And on the narrow, graveled walks
Between the guarding flower stalks
I heard your step: I was not through
With services I meant for you.

You came into the quiet room
That glowed enchanted with the bloom
Of yellow flame. I saw your face,
Illumined by the firelit space,
Slowly grow still and comforted-
“It’s good to be at home,” you said.


  1. Hi Joann,
    So nice to read your blog this morning. You certainly have captured your grandmother. Keep up the good work and we look forward to your next blog. Love, Aunt Laurette and Uncle Paul

  2. This is my first time visiting as I was searching for "The Blue Bowl" and came across your lovely place.

    I appreciate your honesty and admire your admiration for your grandmother and her likes ... what a legacy she left.

    Hoping you get to taste a little of the homemaking spirit,
    Frannie Anne

    1. Oh, how nice that you came across the poem here on the blog! Thanks so much for your lovely comments. Take care, Jo.