Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pete's Gift:


Pete was 36 when my aunt Lina was born in 1897. He must have developed a tenderness for her, as he gave her two things; a nickname and a gift. These revelations came from my cousin Fred, Lina's son. The nickname was "Queen" ~ "because she was so bossy"; the gift was a pressed glass cream pitcher, vase and cup. Fred didn't know what the occasion was for the gifting. Perhaps it was when Lina left The Hill for Idaho. She didn't take the gift then though, the pitcher, vase and cup stayed on the mantle of The Old House parlor until 1960, when She and her husband, Fred senior, could take them safely in their car, instead of the riskier train.

When I first began contemplating "You'll Always Come Back" and Pete's story, I longed to connect with some tangible object that Pete had touched, hoping that it would offer some insight into his personality. I never dreamed that not only was there an object that had survived, but the particular sort of object that reveals more about personality than any other, a gift of love.
What story is in these 3 dainty things? When I know the date of their manufacture I'll know more. I know from my grandmother's meticulous ledgers, keeping account of everything bought for, and sold from, The Hill, as well as records of the work that Pete and his wife, Jenny, did there, that Pete could and did buy things on the Dutton account at stores in town.
Were these special treasures that he and Jenny bought first for themselves, to sparkle and enliven their cabin above the spring, and then gave to the bossy young Queen because she once admired them? Or did he pick them out specially for the occasion, spending what must have been a great sacrifice of hard earned credit to purchase something he thought worthy of the young woman he had watched grow up, and whom he must have had a special fondness for.

Fred says that the gold on the rim of the cup is worn from use.

8 comments:

Apifera Farm said...

I'm just entwined in this whole evolving drama/love story/documentary/comedy/opera/movie that is unfolding...

PS MArtyn and I were yelling again at the tv last nite, listening to the economic geniuses give ways to 'help' us and we started yelling "We're just tryin' to survive" in Dan twang. It made us smile in unsteady times....

Cathy said...

Heh. I think we all got so accustomed to yelling at the TV that it's hard to stop.

I'm entranced too. It's got all the mystery and suspense and poignance of an archaeological dig.

Dan Dutton said...

Hee hee ~ I hope you had wine in one hand and a brownie in the other for that quote. Pie day; what doesn't kill us makes us strong.

Last nite I was at the art museum for a dinner last nite & answering the "what are you working on now" with descriptions of "You'll Always Come Back" - I used the archaeology similie too, and an even more troubling one - "like a cyber seance". And even more ack-ish, I said I've have it ready in a couple of years. (!!!!)

Cathy said...

Mr. Bling called me yesterday; he enjoyed seeing you!

Did you call Nancy Reagan to apologize for the cyber-seance reference?

Dan Dutton said...

I'm not planning to conjure Ronald, would he even show up at the same table with Pete? ~ and surely her sensitivity doesn't include the entire spirit world.

It was great seeing Mr. Bling. He was moving & shaking & making deals - living up to his title! That was a fun dinner. Deborah Berke had made a special request for my invite & it was nice to see her again. Laura Lee and I had a rare seat pairing so we got to talk at length about "You'll Always Come Back", needlework and identity. (I knew she did petit point, but not that her nanny had taught her to hook rugs!) She told me some very interesting things about her experiences with needle and thread.

I made a sortof commitment to stage "You'll Always Come Back" in 2010. (!!! was it the wine?)

Cathy said...

Wow, that's great about the 21C staging. Katherine and I will both show up to heckle.

Dan Dutton said...

Heckle & Jeckle, hm?

Cathy said...

Two crows with one strand of pearls between them...