In high school I cared for two younger girls whose mother was a musical mentor to me. Their beautiful home was enchanting to me, and in addition to being there for the girls, I would sometimes bake desserts (or act as kitchen help) for parties held there. With all due respect to the parents (whom I now call by first names and consider friends), I have somehow associated that house with the one in Katie Speck's book Maybelle in the Soup. Though the kitchen and home never had any sort of insect problem, I think Maybelle would have loved the spacious kitchen with its perfect lighting, the well-organized pantry, and especially the formal dining room with its sparkling chandelier and glass table. I can almost imagine the likeable, beribboned cockroach plopping from the chandelier into a soup tureen! Not one to love insects much, I do love Maybelle; young readers do, too. She has also gone to tea and is going to the fair in a new book this summer.
Despite the 20 years since our last meeting, my friend and I enjoyed tea and ginger cookies without Maybelle this afternoon. Reminiscing about memories, discussing books and trends in education, and contemplating important issues felt so good in that familiar house.