Clear as crystal

4 Mar

After Mom’s memorial service, the family gathered in her apartment. We sat around and chatted, all the siblings and their kids gathered together in one place for the first time in a very long time – since Dad’s memorial, really. We also looked through her belongings – furniture,  kitchen ware and the like – looking for something that we could each use in our homes or as a memento.

Like many people her age, my mom had a lot of crystal, in part because my dad would take my sister and I to Goudies Department Store in Kitchener to pick out a new piece for her collection every holiday. The younger family members weren’t really interested, cut crystal not being popular among Millennials and Gen Xers. I hadn’t really planned on taking anything breakable because I had to carry anything I took with me on my plane trip home.

Poking through her china cabinet brought back all sorts of memories. It became crystal clear that, despite my intention to take nothing, I was going to bring two items home with me.



The first was a toothpick holder. There was something about the weight and heft of the crystal I had always liked. It had come out at the end of each meal when I was growing up. I am a flosser, and didn’t use toothpicks, but I thought I might bring it to school for paperclips.




Excited about the first find, I was inspired to look a little deeper. And then there it was, the crystal parfait glass that had held our spoons. I can’t quite recall when or why Mom had decided to keep the everyday spoons in a glass instead of the drawer where they’d always been, but one day it was decided and had been so ever since. I figured I could find a use for it myself.


They both sit on the kitchen counter now. The toothpick holder is where I place my house keys at the end of the day. The spoon holder is just the right size for the key fob  for the new car I was able to buy with my share of Mom’s estate. Each day, when I drop my keys in their new homes, I take a moment to think back to the home and kitchen of my youth.



8 Responses to “Clear as crystal”

  1. carwilc March 4, 2019 at 6:10 am #

    Glad you found a few things to serve as mementos of your mom. And I’m glad you have found a nice practical use for them!

  2. arjeha March 4, 2019 at 7:27 am #

    Little things can bring back such big memories. Glad you took and found a purpose for these two mementos. May they always make you smile and remember when.

  3. wordjourneysite March 4, 2019 at 9:39 am #

    I’m so glad you found a couple of your mom’s things to take with you. I loved how you chose the toothpick holder: “There was something about the weight and heft of the crystal I had always liked”. I think it’s great how your mom used crystal for everyday things like toothpick and spoons – rather than keeping the crystal in a cabinet, only to be used on special occasions (which is what I do:)).

  4. ebgriffin March 4, 2019 at 12:36 pm #

    It’s so important to have these reminders close by.

  5. terierrol March 4, 2019 at 3:35 pm #

    I loved reading about your mementos and memories. Before my Mon died she gave me her Blue China teapot and cups and her crystal punch bowl. It is so nice to have a piece of her and my childhood. Thanks for reminding me.

  6. Fran McCrackin March 4, 2019 at 4:15 pm #

    Isn’t it surprising what we end up wanting to keep? I love how your mom and you use things in ways you like, not bound by what they were intended to be. I also am amazed by your family’s ability to each choose just a memento or two. It seems so healthy. Your slice heartens to an emotional time, but has a feeling of peace and acceptance.

  7. Lisa Corbett March 4, 2019 at 5:07 pm #

    They are both so lovely! I have some old pieces of glass and crystal that are really momentos from people I have loved and now miss. Too bad the younger people aren’t embracing them!

  8. Brian Rozinsky March 4, 2019 at 7:46 pm #

    The details in this slice are precious, in all senses of that word — from your re-purposing of these special crystal containers to the fact that you’re a flosser!

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