Glory Bee—Klaudia Keller
Glory Bee—Klaudia Keller
As Gloria Kolberg decended the stairs she caught an eye to eye look of herself in the large mirror
at the bottom of the steps in the foyer.
It wasn’t the blank expression on her face, or that her arms were full of a heap of summer clothes on
the way to the basement or that the October sun was streaming through with a deep gold hue in the
wide hallway, it was what she was wearing that struck her. She had on a pair of yoga pants that had
definitley seen a better day and an old bed jacket of her mothers.
Today the bed jacket was a blue and white pin striped number with a soft cotton Peter Pan collar.
The jacket had a little flare at the bottom as most of them did, and small blue bows
embroidered on the big white cuffs and collar. It wasn’t her favorite by a long shot, but it was right for
the job. This was what she wore these days when she was home, always, it was her comfortable
uniform, whatever the right color and length of yoga pants and the appropriate bed jacket.
Her mother had had scads of them, she must have been shopping for them long before them she “took
to her bed” after daddy died. Gloria guessed that that was what the women in her family did later in
life, they took to their beds, had people come to her bedroom, ran the household from there.
Her mother had a slew of bed jackets, a vast number of them were various hues of pink, some with
quilted sateens with fancy closures, every color of pastel chenilles, some with small placket pockets,
some with abalone buttons and some with pockets not big enough to hold a key. There were winter
jackets, in knits like the red and white large houndstooth check with big red pom pom balls to tie
it securely at the neck. There were a number of bed jackets that matched specific sets of sheets,
like the mint green seersucker edged sheets and a lovely seersucker bell shaped jacket with pearl
buttons and three quarter length sleeves.
There were times one couldn’t find her mother even as she was sitting up in bed because she had
become camouflaged in a heap of sheets and bed clothes in the large custom made bed in her
greenhouse like bedroom. Her mother had taken over what was the orangerie, a completely glassed in
room just off the main house with french doors open to the kitchen, dining and living rooms.
There she would sit poofed up in her bed holding court, instructing the gardeners, and all of the
delivery people coming and going through the service entrance that she kept track of very each day.
Her mother commanded attention, so much so that Michael her now ex husband had had enough after
four years into her mothers’ infirmed stated and left the house moving into a room at the club and then
to a top floor condominimim close to his office downtown.
Her twin boys, now in their first year away at college were commanded to show up to her bedside
daily to kiss their grandmother goodbye each morning and to check in with her in the evening.
Even if they were to be late, she had a small notebook at her bedside that the boys were to leave a note
and et her know they had checked in before going off to bed.
Gloria had long lost sight of her own life, always giving to everyone but herself every last ounce or
energy, composure, the one in the family to keep the peace, help navigate her family’s life and when
they all needed to go to and from the home port, she could manage the helm. Now with the boys away
at school, her mother and husband gone, Gloria remembered how she had so loved college, not for the
business classes Daddy assured her would come in handy, but therewas a freedom for Gloria in the art
Freshman year it was the basics, art history and architecture that inspired her, but when she tried her
hand at sketching, pen and ink, oils, acrylics, casting metal and all of the actual workings within the
department, she excelled. Her mother had insisted she get a degree in interior design, if she insisted on
going to college, but she had lost complete sight of the love she had for her doused artful inspirations.
Gloria once fancied her self a designer, her mother had wanted her to take interior design if she had to
go to college, but Gloria loved fashion, she was known in school to be the one “who had her own style”
Gloria had gone from an extremely sheltered home to a sheltered upstate college, pregnant with her
boys in her senior year to a sheltered wedding and then back to her sheltered home with new babies.
She had a hard time remembering what life was like before she was married and running this house
with her mother but she did know she would not take to her bed. She had spent the better part of a
decade being the one who supported the community not by taking the lead but by being the one who
did the hard work behind the scenes of every fundraiser, every soccer tournament, every trip they took,
the silent power that really did move mountains.
Last year a this time she had canceled an auction meeting, just because she was committed to making
the closet change over, at that point her mother was withcaretakers nearing the end, the boys heavy
into their last year of school in the middle of soccer, and then the college prep professional that her ex
had insisted on. In one short year her life had changed from running a very tight ship with family and
then her civic work and duties with various committees that called for a very sophisticated calender
to keep up with, to a empty house and empty rooms unable to even keep coffee in the house or find
her damn cell phone.
The house was soon becoming empty her life seemed empty. She had never really wanted to run a
household like her mother, she had fallen into the boat and then assumed the role of running the
household like a ship, now it all seemed so futile.
Gloria’s favorite room in the house was the downstairs den, it was the smallest room in the house,
with the whole room lined with mirrored bookshelves for spacious reflection and cupboards below
filled with games and atlases . The couch was made of a wide wale courderoy plump and full of
feathers, she had always loved the décor she had chosen for her favorite spot. She often came into the
den to sort out whatever she was working on and as she plopped down on her favorite couch,
the prim bed jacket caught her eye once again in the mirror in all of it’s pin stripped glory.
Glory bee !!
Gloria had often been complemented on her choice of clothing over the years, and she loved the
comfortalbe house clothes she chose each day, the bed jackets had been a way to dress up or down
toodleing about town fashionably her own either with or without her overcoat.
She was having a brainstorm that was transforming her house, her life from here to bed jacket eternity.
She would design and manufacture bed jackets, for hospitals, for cancer patients, for mothers after
giving birth, fashionalbe jackets to be worn with comfortable pants, comfort to show off, using
recycled buttons, color trend fabrics with style. Beach bed jackets, dinner bed jackets, she was onto
She set off to her father’s old drafing table and began to turn the house into what she would call a
sweet shop, vs. a sweat shop. Seamstresses could work their own hours, at stations throughtout the
house, the living room fireplace would have sewing machines in a half circle, the cutting tables in the
dining room and the shipping and receiving departments out of the orangerie glasses in old bedroom of
This is what Gloria had been missing, or what she needed really. GLORY BEE
when they weren’t in uniform. She had various articles of clothing made suits made and then would
remake them at home,
hadn’t let her passions go Gloria had to face it, she had been a dissappointment to her mother, her
husband, her kids didn’t even want her to come to school until mom’s weekend, not until the end of
of doing water
color from a canoe dipping her bru taking a writing class, her astrologer had urged, her chart showed a
great writer in-
There was a seersucker jacket to match certain set of mint green sheets, there were fuzzy
knits for the winter, and terrycloth bed jackets for the warmer months.
summon everyone bedside. She would have meetings with the gardner in her bedroom that would
last up to an hour, she running the show as everyone tended to her every need. Her mother didn’t know
that the money was gone and she had just 2 houses left to sell to pay off all of the bills of the estate
when she finally died.
Her mother had “taken to her bed” after threatening to do so for so many years after her dad died.