Love Thursday: Remembering the Silver Years

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!


[tags]silver, argento, baby silver, tea strainers, tea, love thursday[/tags]

25 Beans of Wisdom to “Love Thursday: Remembering the Silver Years”
  1. Gil

    Not a baby hint? Right!!! My son is getting married on Saturday. I can’t wait until my wife gets up and tell her that maybe we should wrap up his Baby silverware for a little bonus gift.

  2. Judith in Umbria

    Lucky, lucky you! Deserving you.

    Use them all the time and you won’t have to clean them. There are lots of ways to use that teaball– anything you want to infuse, even a bath with rosemary and lavender or oatmeal for a rash.

    If you have the Vileda blue chamois-type microfiber cloth, you can use it dry to keep silver clean. I’ve not found a good silver cream here, yet.

    And an award for a story! Seems you might have started with that. Congratulations!

  3. Jennifer

    Beautiful silverware! What a wonderful keepsake to have.

  4. KC

    What a beautiful gift to receive from home. I agree with Judith, use the silver, it won’t need cleaning, and it’ll keep those sweet memories fresh in your mind.

    Congratulations on the award!

  5. alicia

    Such beautiful things πŸ™‚ You are very lucky indeed πŸ™‚

  6. stefanie

    Beautiful things… and beautiful pictures of the things!

    Also, did you already tell us that you’re “officially” engaged?? Or was that just news to me?

  7. Lisa Milton

    Congratulations! I am short on time this morning, but I will check out your story later today.


  8. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    Congrats on your short story award!

    It was so sweet of your mom to send you the silver. When you live so far from family it’s nice to have familiar things around you.

  9. The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick

    That is such a heartwarming memory. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by things that generate childhood memories, especially when we’re older and far from home. Wonderful keepsakes for sure!


  10. Britt-Arnhild

    I use the silver spoon from my childhood almost every day πŸ™‚

  11. jessica

    That is amazing, very cool. Congrats!! I don’t even know if i have baby silverware. We didn’t have silver, we had plastic πŸ™‚

  12. sognatrice

    Gil, no really it isn’t! As for your son’s gift, geez, talk about pressure; note that my mom gave the gift at the *baby* shower πŸ˜‰

    Judith, great tips on the teaball. My mom actually sent silver cream with the silver, and I’ve seen some DIY organic ones around too. Anyway, unfortunately, a lot of the silver are things I wouldn’t use everyday (like cake/pie cutters), but I’m going to work them in on your advice. Thanks for the congrats πŸ™‚

    Jennifer, thank you. I’m pretty impressed that my mom kept them as we’re not really big on family keepsakes.

    KC, thanks, and thanks!

    Alicia, yes I am lucky; I have to find a nice place to keep them. Somehow my everyday silverware drawer doesn’t seem special enough ever if I do end up using them every day.

    Stefanie, oh, “officially,” “unofficially”–it’s all the same here really. Seriously Italy is weird like that.

    Lisa, thanks; I hope you got to read the story. I’m thinking of posting it here as well this weekend for easy access.

    NYC, Christina, really I wouldn’t have thought I’d have gotten emotional looking through those pieces, but there you go. Sometimes it’s just nice to feel physically connected sometimes.

    Britt-Arnold, how fun! I’m going to start using mine in my espresso πŸ˜‰

    Jessica, oh, I doubt you used plastic as a baby since kids are wont to chew on things at a certain age–or, if you did, I bet each one didn’t last long enough for your mom to have put them aside πŸ˜‰ I would’ve never thought that my mom had these either until she whipped out my brother’s all those years ago….

  13. Ally Bean

    I’ve never seen a baby spoon like the one you have. It is really very sweet and has such a lovely vibe to it. Lucky you to have it with you.

  14. Kali

    How wonderful of your mom to send you that silverware! Lovely memories…thank you for sharing them!

  15. Erin

    Happy Love Thursday! That was a very special thing your mom did. What a beautiful heirloom to have.

  16. Bongga Mom

    That’s beautiful. I wish I had thought of buying silver baby spoons when mine were babies, now it’s too late. Don’t forget to buy one more for your collection one day when your babies are born!

  17. Milva

    What a thoughtful mother you have and what a wonderful heirloom to pass onto the generations. Your story made me appreciate how important it is to hold on to things with special meaning…
    Hey, we’re both libras too!

  18. midnightbunny

    That spoon is absolutely beautiful in so many ways. Thank you for sharing a picture of it. I also didn’t realize it before, but we share the same name. πŸ™‚



  19. -R-

    I don’t have anything interesting to add but wanted to say it’s all very cool!

  20. cheeky

    It’s comforting to read stories about your mom and it warms my heart because it makes me think of mine.
    What a gem Kitty is. Not hard to see why her place was so fascinating to a young girl.
    These are sure treasures to enjoy for years to come.
    Looks like a tea strainer to me:)

  21. sognatrice

    Ally, I thought the baby spoon was pretty cool too; like I said, my family isn’t big on these sorts of things, so it’s extra-special to me.

    Kali, I’m glad you enjoyed the memories–it was fun remembering them too πŸ™‚

    Erin, thanks! I chuckled at the word “heirloom” in your comment–it’s just so far removed from my own impression of my family! Too funny.

    Bongga mom, you can always get them now (what’s a few years when the spoons would hopefully be around for hundreds?)! The only reason my mom got one is because they offered it for a dollar…can you believe that? And I’m counting on you to remind me if/when any babies arrive in my house!

    Milva, hooray for Libras! I’m not a big collector of “things,” but these are definitely some I’ll hang on to.

    MidnightBunny, long live the Michelles! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

    R, *everything* you say is interesting; thanks for commenting!

    Cheeky, I’m happy that you’re thinking of your mum–and thanks for the back-up on the tea strainer. We younger Americans are clueless sometimes πŸ˜‰

  22. jennifer

    Wow, how I relate to this post. Thank you for finding me and giving me the opportunity to read your blog.
    One of the things that I am absolutely, willfully, not taking no for an answer taking with me to the States are my grandmother’s patchwork quilts. I have four quilts, three of which she made by hand with my mother’s little girl dresses. The third she made for me when I left home for college using my baby clothes.
    Some thing are not mere things, you know?

  23. sognatrice

    Jennifer, I’d be all over the quilts too; in fact, thanks for reminding me that I have to get an afghan that my mom made for me over here as well….

    I’m so glad I found you through the other translating Jennifer in northern Italy! I’m adding you to my blogroll now πŸ™‚

  1. [...] in 2007, I wrote about my mom’s friend/mother-like figure Kitty in Remembering the Silver Years. A...
  2. [...] mom’s friend Kitty (she of the unique tea strainer and adorable heart bracelet) once told my mom t...
Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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