There are objects in my house that transport me back to my childhood. Well, better said: they call upon old memories and events that go so far back that my earliest images of them are blurred. Here are a few around my house:
A salad bowl and vinegar cruet. I love both of these dearly. However, it’s the vinegar cruet that is most firmly lodged in my childhood memories, because my mother always had it out (along with a jar of yellow mustard) whenever we had corned beef and cabbage.
A small blue pyrex bowl. I bought a set of pyrex bowls from an indoor flea market when I was living in Pennsylvania in the late 1990s. At some point, my mother must have owned the whole set herself, possibly from sometime early in her marriage. By the time I came around, only this little blue bowl was left. It was the entire reason that I bought the set. It conjures foggy memories of my mother baking in the kitchen while all my siblings were at school. I have clearer memories of egg salad sandwiches (this was the bowl for making egg salad for quite a while).
A tin recipe box (for 3x5 index cards). My mother barely remembers having one of these, but I remember it. I found this one at the Rowley flea market years ago and left it at my sister Kaethi’s house "to pick up later." This weekend, while Anya and I were visiting Kaethi, she dragged out my long-forgotten flea market finds. There are recipes in the tin that belonged to some woman I never knew. I doubt I’ll keep those, or that I’ll put recipes in the box. But I am quite certain that I will discover some use for it.
Not all memories are caught up in my mother. For example, there is the…okay, I don’t know what to call this—book shelf? – that my brother Tim made in high school shop class. My mother gave it to me last year, and it hasn’t yet found its “home” in my house. When I was a kid, I loved this piece. It held treasures, served as a “bed” for my favorite stuffed animal (Rosie the Rabbit, whom I still have somewhere), and of course later held books. Tim is a very talented guy.
This item speaks simultaneously to my childhood, my mother, and my brother Tim’s talent. A cribbage board—not the one from when I was a kid, but one that Tim made for me a few years ago. Every night after dinner, even before the dishes were cleared and washed, my mother would play cribbage with one of us. First it was Mike, then Pat, then Kevin, then me. (Each time someone moved out, a younger child would take the last player's place.)
What items around you evoke special memories from your childhood?