My grandmother was born a hundred years ago today. I know that because I vaguely remember her birthday, but really because I have her baby cup. It’s a very cool looking cup. The base of the cup has six point to it so it flares out at the bottom. The engraving says, “Evelyn March 11, 1911 From Uncle Charles”. From what I remember, Uncle Charles was the rich uncle from New York who send expensive gifts.
The tradition in our family was that when babies were born, a silver cup was given to them with their name engraved. I think in my generation, it was my grandparents who bought the cups. When I was about eleven or twelve, it dawned on me that my other siblings had baby cups, but I didn’t. When I brought it up, no one believed me. There was a lot of discussion for a while until they realized that somehow, the cup was forgotten when I was born.
That’s when my grandmother offered to give me hers. When she found it, it was dark and tarnished and there was a hole at the top where the handle had been broken. She polished it up and had it repaired. You can see the welding on the inside.
So I don’t have a baby cup with my name on it, but I have something better. We were very close to my grandparents as kids so it was tragic to see my grandmother slip into dementia in her old age. She loved her fancy holiday dinners and I was always paid fifty cents to polish the silver, sometimes I got a candy bar. Invariably, she would have me crack walnuts and stuff them in to dates and roll them in powdered sugar for special appetiser. And when I was a real pain while she was babysitting, I was sent outside to pick violets along the side of the house so she could have some peace and quite. I never felt like I could get away with anything at grandma’s house because I was convinced that her two Siamese cats, Ying and Yang, who always watched passively, would tattle on me.
It seems like such a long time ago. I’m happy and a little sad to remember my grandmother, born a hundred years ago today. Gone, but not forgotten.