….otherwise known as the folly of youth.
“Pleeeaaassse” (in your head you are hearing the pleading of an 11 year old young girl)
“NO! for the last time!” (in your head your are hearing what she thinks is the ending
of an argument by a 40 something year old mother)
“I don’t understand why not (you are hearing very whiney pouty from the 11 year old). It’s not like you ever use them. They’re just sitting in that chest. You won’t miss just one. I’ll take the real tarnished one. I’m going to make my own, you won’t even have to buy me one. Everyone else has one but me. . .”
It was 1970ish, I was in the 6th grade, antique spoon rings were in—I didn’t have one, I was out—or so I had rationalized in my youthful mind.
It wasn’t like mother ever really entertained. We may have used that silver service once or twice a year–Thanksgiving and Christmas–that was it. Mother hosted her bridge group once a month.. .seven ladies plus mother and not a single demitasse set user among them—nuts–always pistachios, something sweet and whiskey sours. . .but not nary a demitasse cup, saucer nor accompanying tiny little silver spoon intended for the stirring of the little coffees. Nope, these bridge ladies were hard core, not the demitasse set type of refined little old ladies of yore.
No sirree, she wouldn’t miss one little ol spoon—it was all I was asking for, just one. I’d find some sort of wire cutters, snip off the bowl part of the spoon, file down any rough edges— we’ve got sand paper right?— then twist the shaft part around making it into a ring. Piece of cake. Then I too would enter into the world of the “haves”, who were the trendy ones of the 6th grade, verses the “have nots” of which I currently sadly counted myself as one.
I had small fingers right? If she wouldn’t let me have a demitasse spoon, then that cute little salt spoon might work even better. Who wants to sprinkle their salt from some little fancy cup using a tiny little spoon?! What’s wrong with using a shaker?! Wasn’t Mother always having a fit to immediately wash the silver that had come into contact with salt anyway due to corrosion? A tiny little salt spoon would be even better and better yet, no one would miss it.
But that request, plead, demand, was also met with a resounding no. What was the big deal?
How about the time I wanted to be a ghost for halloween and wanted to use my pillow case, cutting out eyeholes. Mother nixed that idea as well. I certainly didn’t understand the big deal. Cut the holes, wear it that night for trick or treating, putting it back on my pillow when it was bed time— voila, easy instant costume! I certainly would’t mind holes in my pillow case. . .I’d be asleep, it wasn’t like I had to look at them.
Or what about the time it snowed and iced. We didn’t have a sled. I didn’t want to use that piece of old cardboard. It would get all soggy. What was wrong with the cookie sheet?! I could use it all day. It would be fine. My bottom would stay nice and dry (yeah right). I’d bring it home once we’d finished “sledding” and sliding, wash it, ignoring the dings, bends and dents— it would be like new. It’s not like anyone ever saw it in the oven.
Necessity was the mother of invention in my small brain. I thought I was being good to be so resourceful, using what we had laying around the house. How truly economical of me, not to mention thoughtful—I was saving trips to the store as well as money!
Sadly however I must report that I never got that spoon ring—homemade or store bought. I was never a ghost for halloween. All the superman capes were old towel rags not the good bath towels I begged to use, and we eventually bought a real sled so the cookie sheets stayed in the kitchen for all the cookies mother wasn’t baking. Did I ever tell you she wasn’t big on cooking—hence the rationale for the use as sleds.
All of these memories have come flooding back throughout my adult life, at one point or another, most notably when I’ve had to tell my son “no” to certain rationalizations of his own youthful mind of invention. Yet it is especially during this time of year, during the holidays, when I find myself pulling out mother’s silver, in order to use it for Thanksgiving, that I lovingly spy the demitasse spoons.
I always open the chest, peering inside to mother’s silver.. . the beautiful pieces she received in 1953 when she got married. Back then, young brides received silver as wedding gifts, as well as pretty fancy china sets. People entertained a great deal. It was a more formal time. Sadly for better or worse, we’ve gotten away from giving such extravagant gifts as those things have escalated in price and value. Girls today tend to be a bit more practical and economical.
Even in the early 80’s, when I got married, girls were not getting the type of presents my mother’s generation received. I “inherited” mother’s silver after she died, as well as her fine china, as I had not received either when I married. Every generation is different I suppose.
I still think the little demitasse and tiny salt spoons are as cute as they can be— even though I’ve never had cause to use them. I’m rather partial to an antique turkey and hen set as my Thanksgiving salt and pepper shakers. And sadly or happily, our Christmas’ fete has become a bit more casual over the years, transitioning to a brunch verses the fancy white linen dinner variety celebration.
For better or for worse Mother, even though you are no longer here in this life for me to say this to you face to face as I do, however, believe you can hear me. . .”you were right!”—it would not have been wise for me to take your sterling silver spoon to cut it up to make a ring that was oh so trendy at the time—I did live to survive my lacking of 1970’s trendy bling.
You were right to tell me “No” that I could not cut up my pillow case. I buy those things today myself and by gosh nobody is cutting up mine! And no matter whether you used them as regularly as I thought you should have, using one’s cookie sheets/ baking pans as snow sleds is an equally poor idea.
I will fully admit that throughout my young life I clung to the immortal words of Anatole France, that I too “preferred the folly of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom.”
However it is now, in this wizened time I call my life, I can honestly say that Mother was always right. And just so you know, “because I said so” is a perfectly fine explanation!
Now where is that silver polish, those little demitasse spoons need a good shine.. .