I don't have a lot of physical reminders of my childhood. In fact, as my mother recently told me, both cameras were broken at the hospital the day I was born (it wasn't me, I swear), so I don't even have one of those adorable minutes-old, crunched up and puffy-faced photos.
But the other day I received a package in the mail from my mom. She's moving from house to apartment and also moving a friend from apartment to retirement home, so she's sorting through a lot of old stuff.
And I'm the benefactor.
She thought now would be the perfect time to send me these:
My baby silverware.
My brother got his set when my mom wrapped them up as a gift to my sister-in-law for her first baby shower. Some of you may wonder if my mom's package was her subtle hint to get moving on the bambini, but really it's not. She's never been one of "those" moms so I know that this gift simply means she knew I would love to have these at this exact time in my life, and, as usual, she's right.
Being far from home, away from nearly everything that ever symbolized anything in my previous life can be difficult; yes, memories are in the heart, but it's still comforting to hold something that was once important to me, even if I didn't know it at the time.
Looking at this silverware, I think of how many relatives and family friends have touched these forks and spoons meant for my mouth only--although surely they had to take a bite or two themselves to convince me that pureed carrots were mmm-mmm-good, bless their hearts as it was a decidedly uphill battle.
Also in the collection is a special spoon from the local jeweler's; when I was born, they were running a special on engraved baby silver, and here's mine:
It has my name, birth date and time (it's 12:21 a.m. in case you can't make it out). Isn't the stork adorable?
(The ring, by the way, is essentially my engagement/wedding ring from P.)
And that wasn't the end of the package.
My mom also sent some things from the apartment of the woman now in the retirement home. Kitty has been like a mother to my mom and another grandmother to me, particularly since my mom's mother was never much of a nurturer, to put it kindly. I always felt a particularly special bond with Kitty because her birthday is just a day before mine (well, and 55 years earlier). Indeed, save twenty-two minutes, we would've shared our day.
I have countless wonderful memories of Kitty, but most involve cookies as she and my mom made them together every year for the holidays. Kitty loves to tell the story of one Christmas when I was "The Cookie Monster" who kept sneaking into her dining room and swiping pizzelles and chocolate chip cookies off the table--just from around the edges though because I had to get on my tiptoes to play thief.
And I can still smell the anise as I write this.
I remember trying to find excuses to tramp from one end of her apartment to the other down the long, hardwood floored hallway, which, looking back, probably wasn't all that grand but sure seemed so to my 4-year-old legs.
There was always something magical about Kitty's place because it was a like visiting a fairy tale. She had all kinds of grown-up fancy stuff that a little girl could want to be surrounded by--red velvet Victorian furniture, the best china and flatware (which I wouldn't appreciate until much later), a huge collection of dolls--in fact her apartment rather resembled a doll house.
And Kitty was the doll at just a few inches below five feet tall. Did I mention she only wore pink?
And so, among silver ladles and serving pieces, one particular item sent by my mom stood out:
We think it's an old-fashioned tea strainer, fitting in nicely with my tea and cookies memories of Kitty, but if anyone has other thoughts, please share.
Now I sit surrounded by a bunch of old silverware, some of it Kitty's grandmother's, and I can't help but remember how my own grandmother used to open up one of the bottom drawers filled with cooking utensils for me to play with. I'd sit on the floor and spend hours going through them, banging and clanging at first, then gradually asking what everything was used for.
I feel like a child again in the middle of all this fun, and I look forward to sharing it with another generation when the time is right.
Happy Love Thursday everyone!
** On the sage advice of Goodthomas, I am proud to announce that my short story, Seeds of Truth, has been selected for one of the Author's Choice Awards in The Moon Topples Fiction Growth Contest. Do yourself a favor and go check out all the entries; they were all superb.
I'd like to thank Maht for the opportunity and for all his hard work to make this contest a success. Now everyone keep your eye on The Moon Topples for the next contest and join in!