Sunday, January 5, 2014

Playing the Spoons

The other day, I went with my mom to visit my grandma. The 90yo one, that is, lest you be confused. 

Remember, I have both of them still with me.

For those of you who are not so lucky, please understand that I am not bragging, just commenting.

Anyway…the younger of the two grandmas is moving by the end of next month, so my mom and I went to help her pack. We began in her kitchen, going cabinet by cabinet, choosing what would go to Goodwill, what would go with her and what would go home with a lucky family member.

Near the end, we got to her silverware drawer. And as my mom and I went on by it, Grandma took out all the contents and began sorting them.

My mom and I began work on the china hutch.

In the hutch, we found a couple more boxes of old silverware; Grandma began sorting it too.

We also found her good silver, which remained in the box. I don’t know why I tell you that, other than to help paint the whole picture for you.

When Grandma was finished sorting, she decided to keep two complete sets (I believe it was two sets, but possibly just one…it was superfluous information to me at the time, but now the information-seeker in me wishes I had paid attention) and packed up the rest in a shoebox to go by the wayside.

Of course, since we always seem to run out of utensils, spoons especially, I snatched up the box and brought them home.

As I like things to be orderly (excepting for a few random drawers around my house, which we won’t mention right now…don’t judge), I laid the flatware out on the counter to assess my take…plus I had to decide what I was going to keep and what I would give away.

So, after I had done my sorting, I decided what I would keep…it was a set of four place settings…with two forks and spoons for each, as well as a butter knife. Nice, huh?

I know you’re impressed…it’s ok, you can admit it.

I must digress for a moment to tell you that I don’t think anything is being given away (sorry…I know some of you were clamoring for my silverware cast-offs), but some of my friends and family may be receiving some lovely crafts made from stainless steel silverware next year for Christmas.

Maybe. I Googled “easy silverware crafts” and apparently all I need to get is a welding torch, some heavy-duty gloves, goggles, and a vice grip. To be fair, I did Google “easy” not “cheap”…

And we’re back to the story: I discovered that Grandma had 8 different silverware patterns represented.

My OCD wanted to show only spoons but the two forks I included were the only things in those specific patterns.

I knew the fact that there were two forks in the picture was bothering you too so I felt compelled to explain my “bizarre” selection.

I told my mom about Grandma’s extensive pattern collection and we were discussing how it possibly happened: Did she really go through THAT many different sets of silverware? Had they inadvertently been picked up at pitch-ins or potlucks? Where did all these patterns come from?

In the meantime, my “new to me” silverware had been run through the dishwasher…who knows how long it had been sitting in that shoebox.

And being as how I am something of a germaphobe (don’t judge), in case you didn’t know, there was no way I was using it without washing it first.

Sorry, Grandma…I mean no offense.

And as I was putting my CLEAN silverware away, I noticed something.

I MAY have a few different silverware patterns represented in my cutlery drawer as well.

OK, I do. And here they are:

Yes, there are 6. Now, I don’t have full sets of any of them, nor did I at one time.

And while I may not know where all of her silverware came from, I know exactly where mine came from. Prepare to be amazed. Or really could go either way.

The blue handled ones on the left, for instance…when I was in college, I bought a spoon, a fork and a knife at a store in the Bloomington Mall so I would have utensils for Sunday nights when we had to order dinner (no food service…anyone else relate?). I obviously didn’t need four place settings…I loved my friends and all but they were on their own for their utensils.

The ones next to them are the set my mom bought for me when I moved into my first apartment; when we got married, she bought another set of four place settings (same pattern) so we would have eight. Such a nice Mama I have.

Next one to the right…it’s from a set of four spoons I bought at Kohl’s when I had a $10 Coupon and they were $11 and some change…I needed more spoons, just like I said.

The ones that look like an ice cream cone are specified for ice cream consumption only. It was part of a gift from a friend. LOVE them. She may know about my affinity for ice cream. And besides, who DOESN’T need spoons designated for one specific food? Who among you does not have grapefruit spoons or soup spoons? I don’t…but I know some of you do!

OK, I don’t really KNOW that, but I suspect it. You don’t have to admit it, but I know you’re out there.

The next one (second from the right, in case you’ve gotten totally lost) is part of a set I got when I used to buy liquidation lots of stuff and resell things on Ebay. It was a single set of one spoon, one fork and one knife...but it was missing the knife. I didn’t think anyone would buy a set without a knife so I opted to keep it.

The one on the far right is the “new” set I just got from Grandma.

The thing is, I am only 40. Grandma is 90.

I have 6 patterns and she had 10 (at most 10, possibly 9…I have to make sure I hedge my bets, because she sometimes read the blog…plus I strive for the utmost in accuracy). Point being...that’s a pretty small of a difference in the number of patterns I have versus the number she has/had.

By the time I am 90, God only knows how many silverware patterns will be represented in my kitchen drawer.

See where I’m going with this?

I’m not really sure either, except that this began as a Ten Minute Writing exercise, and I am well-past that at this point.

Pulling the rip cord with this: Anyone want to take up playing the spoons? I am sure I could set you up with a collection...just let me know!


  1. Great story, Kris! Believe it or not, we have the blue-handled set of silverware in your picture. Don't be offended, but I HATE them. They belonged to my husband when we got married, and I got rid of the set of stainless that were hand-me-downs from my mom (with NOTHING wrong with them). The blue-handled ones, as you may know, are unbalanced, so they tip off the plate frequently, especially when you're not eating at a table. And thus make a big mess. And some of the blue parts are kind of loose. And I wish they would just go away, but I've been stuck with them for 20 years, and it looks as though I'll be stuck with them for 20 more.

    By the way, when my Grandma (she passed away five years ago at 93) was moving into an assisted living facility, she refused to pack any kitchenware. My dad said to her, "What if I bring you some ice cream? What will you eat it with?" She allowed that she would then take a spoon with her, but that was it. My dad said, "But what if I want some ice cream, too?" She said she'd take TWO spoons, but no more.

    1. I am not offended in any way...I don't love those utensils at all but I always take a quick trip down memory lane when I see them. So I keep them. And yes, they are off-balance for sure.

      LOVE the story about your grandma...I shall tuck that idea away for future use. I am making my list for the character traits I want to have when I'm of the list is hoarding chocolate and stashing it in every drawer of the house. BUT I do like the idea of only needing two spoons in case I want to have ice cream and let one visitor have some too. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. I have to confess that ...still after all these years quite a bit of our silverware drawer contains silverware from my college cafeteria! Otherwise, all the rest is a his, mine and ours conglomeration. We never did get a nice set when we got married. A few years ago, my sister got me a nice set for Christmas....we save it for special occasions and company.

    Somehow it is nice to know that I'm not alone in the unmatching silverware --- I just assumed everyone else has matching sets. :)

    Dyanne...I love that story about your Grandma. ;) Sweet!