Little Pretties

One of the simultaneously maddening and creativity-inspiring things about living in a small space, or in my small space anyway, is the stunning lack of storage. I don’t have anything fancy stowed away to use only for special occasions. (Well, okay, I do, but it’s languishing in my parents’ basement halfway across the country. Unless they really weren’t kidding about that big garage sale.) All the beautiful things that we own, we use. For example, my grandmother’s silver.

It was a hard-won set of silver. My grandparents eloped when they were in college and kept their marriage a secret for years (doesn’t that sound romantic?!). Accordingly, no wedding and no money. They could only afford to acquire a piece or two of silver at a time. I think it was when they were retired and living in a condominium in Dallas that my grandmother registered the set with the local police and scratched serial numbers into each piece, so that they could be tracked if stolen and resold. These zany, wobbly numbers are one of my favorite things about the silver. Imagine – thinking something’s so precious that you’re willing to deface it in order to protect it!

And now, I’m not sure whether she would be horrified or tickled about it, but we use my grandmother’s Chippendale silver as our everyday cutlery. It’s way too pretty, but I love the glint of class it adds to our humble table, and I guess I figure otherwise it would be quietly tarnishing in some hidden drawer. Harper spears all manner of nugget into ketchup with the help of the delicate, long-stemmed forks. The silver was prettily scratched-up by the time I inherited it, so that makes this casual use feel a little more justified. And sometimes just looking at it reminds me of how, really, one wants to live, with beauty bubbling up in the everyday.

12 responses to “Little Pretties

  1. Your grandmother had one sister and they weren’t exactly close; the funny thing is, unbeknownst to each, they picked out the same silver pattern…

  2. That is lovely.

  3. I like all of this: the hard-won, oft-used silver; the lovely photo, and especially the line “Imagine – thinking something’s so precious that you’re willing to deface it in order to protect it!”

  4. Also, my mother and my mother-in-law were married the same year, and they picked the same silverplate pattern! It was three years after the end of World War II, and I guess there weren’t a lot of choices. They both gave their sets to us, so now I actually have enough to give my seder guests matching silverware. But that’s pretty much the only time I use it. Which is kind of silly.

  5. Lovely. I have Grandma T’s silver and now… I will use it more often.

  6. Amy girl,
    What a lovely story this is. I would have read it sooner, but my computer crashes and diaper changes keep me from so many wonderful reads..
    Keep them coming

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