Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just the two of us, a memory thread

Come full circle
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Soon after we were married, S was drafted. For our first Thanksgiving, he came to my parent's home at the end of his basic training. Already thin when they got him, he was down to 165 pounds for his 6 feet 5 inches. His thick dark hair was shorn and the army had taken away his horn-rims and given him round glasses frames made of pink plastic. He was wearing his uniform when he got off the train. I didn't recognize him--my mother saw him first. My pregnancy had begun to show and I was wearing one of those smocks like we wore then. I couldn't kiss him at the station; he seemed like a stranger.
My parents were remodeling an old house; it was open on one wall where the large fireplace would be. The hole was covered by a tarp--the only thing between us and the late autumn winds and rain. I don't remember what we ate, but I am sure it was turkey. . .
This year, 2008, since we had just visited all our children, we decided to have a simple Turkey Day. But I couldn't take the thought of going out to eat; it seemed too goofy, and a little sad.
So here it is--we don't remember ever having a just-the-two-of-us Thanksgiving before.
Do you think your kitchenware holds memories? Of your life and of the world of the past? I do. Here we have:
1) The classic pyrex casserole ( containing peas) with the lid you can use for a pie plate. We've have this nearly forever.
2) Heavy blue glasses I got on sale because the color reminded me of my mother's Mexican blue glass. Unlike the Mexican blue, they seem to be nearly indestructable.
3) Wine glasses we bought last year from a Bed, Bath and Beyond remainder rack when we were shopping for Christmas gifts.
4) Our wedding silverplate, Flair, which S picked out. (It was a gift from his parents.) I didn't care for it much. The pattern seemed to me aggressively modern. I've gotten used to its gentle curves by now.
5) Pottery dinner plates we got from a local potter in the late seventies. Thay are very beautiful, with subtle poured glazes you cannot see here.
6) Cute little brown thrift-store pitchers with gravy in them. Getting them out, I found another one was cracked and threw it away. Each one is sitting on a saucer of the Mikasa French something-or-other creamy white dishes, which we impulse-bought in the Mikasa outlet store when we were shopping for Christmas gifts. We had seen them at Mary Hill's and liked them. We already had plenty of dishes. We use them for everyday and for company, too. They are very pretty and go with everything. Mary Hill (she was in my haiku group) died this year, and they always remind me of her in a comfortable way.
7) Japanese dishes with blue fish on them. I got these because I like them, and because I used to shop at a Japanese hardware store with Lani and Ed after having bento box lunches together following Library Branch Heads meeting. (Now they call it the Management Meeting, and I am sure it couldn't be as much fun as when we were part of it.)
8) White baking dish (French?) from S's fancy-cooking period. He likes these and we have them in different sizes. They are classier than much of our stuff, and more recently acquired.
9) The bottom half of a ceramic butter dish made by a friend of my daughter's when she was making her living at art fairs in the 1980s. It has a cover, so you can store your butter at room temperature and merrily butter your toast, if you are still allowed to eat butter, or toast. . .
10) Ceramic platter that neither one of us can remember where it came from. The turkey breast and wings were roasted separately from the legs and back, which we roasted yesterday with vegetables to make gravy stock. Now we have enough gravy to have a Gravy Party, if we had ever heard of such a thing.
11) Crystal dish with mashed potatoes in it. I often cannot resist these gorgeous dishes when they wind up at Ross or Tuesday Mornings. So much (un-needed, closet-hogging) shining, twinkling beauty for such small prices!
12) Small swirled crystal dish (see above) with canned whole-berry cranberry sauce.
13) Pepper mill, the pretty-good replacement for the late lamented one that our son got us years ago in a (now-defunct) cutlery store, which gave up the ghost and couldn't be replaced, This is the third try.
14) In a towel (unknown recent provenance) under the tiny rolls(which didn't rise enough because I killed their yeast trying to hurry them up) is the oldest thing, a silverplated dish that is worn through to the brass in a space about the size of a fifty-cent piece. (When was the last time I saw one of those?) I have tried to let go of it, but I like the shape. It was a wedding gift.
15) The tablecloth is from the 70s when I used to make them from upholstery remnants. The table we had then was smaller. I bought the brown napkins then because they don't have to be ironed (true) and all the remnants had brown in them. This is sort of a bark cloth.
See how much history can be found in one holiday table setting??
It is my misfortune that people who like "things" and take care of them and wind up with too many of them are now called "hoarders" and are featured on TV shows where they get "help."
Naturally, I think of myself as a careful person who is interested in the conservation of material. I am sure things are not the memory link for everyone that they are for me. This has been one woman's Thanksgiving memory thread. What is yours?


  1. This was very fun to read. I love getting a peek at your Thanksgiving table and hearing about the pretty objects on it. I have a hard time resisting yet another set of dishes despite having more than enough already! It sounds and looks like you had a lovely, quiet day.

  2. You guys have such an amazing history together. Wonderful to read.

    Really -- pink plastic rimmed army glasses? What was up with that??

    Our memory? A bit of a cranky child but a really really smashing gravy and perfect butternut squash, not too wet, not too dry.