After School at Grandmother’s House

My mother worked and wasn’t home until bedtime. It was agreed that my younger sister and I would be collected by my grandmother when we returned to school in September and we would have our tea with her. I remember us holding her hands as we walked from the school to cross the main road by the church and then on to the little road where she lived.

The strongest memory is sitting up to the table, raised on cushions so we could reach our cups and plates safely, and waiting expectantly for hot chocolate and toasted crumpets with butter and Marmite*. We liked them well done and crispy. The television was switched on, ready for our favourite programme, Jackanory, with stories read by famous actors and actresses of the time, such as Bernard Cribbins.

I still enjoy toasted crumpets, sometimes with Marmite, and sometimes with a recipe of my own: grated cheese mixed with chopped spring onions and mayonnaise, melted on top.

late afternoon walk
aroma of falling leaves
Marmite memories

Kim M. Russell, 22nd May 2023

It’s Haibun Monday at the dVerse Poets Pub, and Frank is hosting with a memory prompt. He invites us to address that wondrous cognitive function that helps define who we are. He says: ‘Our memory connects us with our past. Our individual memories form the pages of the story we tell ourselves about who we are. As poets—as writers—we memorialize experience, ideas, emotions, and so much more in words’.

Frank gives an example of a haibun by Basho that demonstrates the impact of memory, as well as two modern haiku. He also reminds us that the form consists of one to a few paragraphs of prose—usually written in the present tense—that evoke an experience and are often non-fictional/autobiographical. They may be preceded or followed by one or more haiku—nature-based, using a seasonal image—that complement without directly repeating what the prose stated.

*For anyone who doesn’t know, Marmite is a dark, thick, yeast extract spread, made from concentrated yeast extract, a by-product from brewing beer. It was first introduced in 1902, when the Marmite Food Company opened a small factory in Burton-on-Trent. It has a strong, salty taste and a pungent smell, which you either love or hate. The Australians have their own version, called Vegemite.


48 thoughts on “After School at Grandmother’s House

  1. The fond remembrance of sharing tea time with your grandmother during childhood evokes a deep sense of warmth and nostalgia, serving as a poignant reminder of the precious moments and enduring flavors that shape our lives and memories. A poignant haiku encapsulating the spirit of autumn and the lingering impressions akin to the unique taste of Marmite. The initial encounter with Marmite proved to be an unforeseen voyage for my senses, as intricate layers of savory, salty, and subtly bitter flavors intertwined, arousing a sense of curiosity and testing the boundaries of my discerning palate. 👍👏👌😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The lovely details in this bring it to life, and allow the reader to be there for a moment. The haiku nicely bridges the past and present. I have no idea what Marmite is! Must be good though?

    Liked by 1 person

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