Cordials, Anyone?

“Do you want my crystal cordial glasses?” My mother asked me this morning. “I have 16 of them.”

No, I said. I have plenty of my own. Two sets in fact. Two sets hardly used.

I have simple glass ones that I got as a wedding present. And I have the pink embossed green -stemmed ones that were my grandparents. photo-2

Growing up, I coveted these glasses and as the oldest grandchild on my mother’s side, was promised them.

My grandfather, Joe, packed them up for me. They’d sold their house and were moving to an assisted living apartment. He had instructed my mother to drive carefully so the glasses would arrive to me intact. Stricken with colon cancer at 85, he managed with the disease for nearly another decade. He never made it to the apartment, only to the hospital.  When I visited him there, a few days before he died, he asked me about the glasses and I assured him I’d received them and hoped to use them for many years.

I remember my grandmother’s elegant holiday dinners, complete with all the glasses in many sizes. While I’ve had a few parties like those over the years, my entertaining tends to be much simpler.

And as much as I always loved the glasses, I loved the story about how my grandfather obtained them more.   He and my grandmother were engaged and planned to marry November 2, 1929.  Then the stock market crashed a few days before the wedding.

Woolworths offered buyers one glass free with another purchase, I remember my grandfather telling me, and he sent all his relatives to the store to get a glass, accumulating 24 in all, 8 each for water, wine and cordials.  0-8 I envisioned his sister and brothers, his parents, aunts and uncles, all rushing to Woolworths to claim their free glass.

photo-2

My sister offered to sell my mother’s cordial glasses on eBay.  I wonder what will happen to this 84-year-old set in my cabinet.  I don’t use them; but I don’t want to part with them.

Cordials, anyone?

Do you have items you can’t discard?

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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28 Responses to Cordials, Anyone?

  1. I love the story behind the glasses, perhaps you will promise them to your oldest grandchild and make sure they know the story behind them?

    Me, I’m a clutz and I only have one wine glass left, so I’ll take your mom’s glasses and if they survive I will pass them on 😉

    Cheers!
    [clink, clink]

    Like

  2. What a lovely story. We have the ones from my mother-in-law. They too have a story behind them. Wow, 84 years is such a long time. They are treasures.

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  3. Leah says:

    Love that story! Definitely keep the glasses.

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  4. Love this! I couldn’t part with them, maybe your daughter-in-law would use them for a Seder? You made me remember green stamps!

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  5. What a beautiful story. I lost all those treasured items including my mothers royal doubleton china ware. Now, I have things I gather because of their beauty. And then sometimes, for the things ive bought at garage sales in particular, i make up stories of where they came from just for dun.

    I’m with you. Don’t part with them. They’re beautiful and they jld memory so lovingly.

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    • Thanks! When I taught 8th grade, I brought in art postcards of old china pieces and glassware and had the kids write stories about them– great way to inspire the imagination. Glad you do the same!

      On Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 11:14 PM, cyclingrandma

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  6. Gorgeous glasses and very sweet story. I’m on a campaign to use my things! Have a cordial tonight in honor of your grandfather.

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  7. mercyn620 says:

    I know exactly how you feel. We have some family antique pieces I love, but cannot keep them all when downsizing. Kids have their own stuff or are not settled yet. Tough decisions…

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  8. Patti Winker says:

    Lovely story! And such a wonderful heirloom to pass along.

    As my Gramma and Mom got older, they started putting little pieces of paper on items they wanted us to have “when the time comes.” I realize now I cherish those little pieces of paper with my name written in their handwriting more than the items.

    One rule that I have taken to following (since we are really cramped for space) is to keep only the things that give me a warm fuzzy feeling. I have a stainless mixing bowl that has beater marks in it from Mom making frosting. That’s a keeper which is worth nothing in dollars and cents. I have my Gramma’s little kitchen chair that she always sat in; very little monetary value, but priceless.

    So, yes, I keep things for the sake of keeping them because they make me happy and give me that “awwwww….” feeling. I just can’t discard some things, whether anyone else sees them as valuable or worth keeping.

    I would love to share a cordial with you some day in those pretty glasses. Oh, and I think calories disappear and headaches are banished in heirloom stemware. That’s the magic, isn’t it?

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    • Lovely response, Patti and for sure we’ll have to share a cordial in the pink glasses! I had for some time my grandmother’s wooden bowl that she made chopped liver in — but it was cracked– I didn’t think it was safe to use. I do have another pottery bowl and two gorgeous antique bowls one from each grandmother.

      On Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 4:29 PM, cyclingrandma

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  9. OmaOrBubby says:

    Yes, I have items I can’t discard. It’s ridiculous. So much clutter. Lots of things have sentimental value, having been given them as heirlooms by my mother or grandmother. I have a lot of needlepoints, paintings, and crewel work wall hangings from both grandmothers. Knitted blankets too…and yes, goblets, glasses, and cordials etc. It’s nice that you take good care of the cordials!

    Like

  10. I found your blog via Shimon’s human picture blog.

    Your story reminds me of Woolworths. I loved taking my son there, but in 2009, they closed their doors in the UK. We bought some glasses from our local charity shops, and I’m sure the glasses were used and cherished before by their previous owners, who had passed away.

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  11. ShimonZ says:

    How sweet that you have these glasses which served a previous generation. Unfortunately, ours have a much shorter life span, and are renewed regularly.

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  12. Use them! They are gorgeous! I have so many of my grandmother’s things… some that I don’t use, or don’t want, but can’t part with. However, cordial glasses, I love. Serve dessert wine in them. Perfect, and they are just so pretty… use them! 🙂

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  13. Jean says:

    If you serve wine in them often enough, some of your family members may eventually covet them because they will associate special times with the cordial glasses.

    What I can’t throw out…probably at least 5 heavy photo albums. this is before days of digital. Will I get them scanned….might take awhile. Lots of other stuff to discard.

    Like

  14. hugmamma says:

    As an antiques dealer and die-hard afficionado of all things vintage, I can identify with your wanting to hang onto such beautiful pieces…and the memories associated with them. Better you lose all the other “stuff” and keep precious mementos of a special time…and special people. 🙂

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  15. Pingback: Stones on Graves: Keeping the Soul in Place | cyclingrandma

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