Wednesday, November 12, 2008
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.