Category Archives: shildhood

Searching for my teapot past

Mine was painted "thatch"

Mine was painted "thatch"

Almost the one I want. Keep your eyes out for me

Did you ever wish you’d kept one thing from your childhood? I was in Washington, DC when my sister and aunt broke up my household and sold almost everything in an estate sale. At the time I couldn’t think of all that many things I wanted from the house. I really didn’t have much of an emotional attachment to anything. At the time I just felt a sensation of relief that I now had no more connections with that house. I did get the pre-WW II beer stein and a few other things. I was on my own with very little space to spare so I couldn’t have saved much.

It dawned on me much later that I would have wanted to keep a two cup teapot much like the one in the picture above. The one we had was not white. It was painted a wheat color. I’m not sure anymore but I think the chimney was blue, maybe not. The spout was painted to make it look like a tree trunk.

It had been my mother’s that she used when she was bedridden her last year of her life. We also had a lap tray with legs and a glass bendable straw. After her death,those items became my play toys. They were stored in the kitchen cabinets. I would drag a chair to the cabinet, climb on top and reach to the high shelf to pull them down when I wanted to play with them.

The kitchen windows let in the afternoon sun. I would sit at the metal table and play in the sunlight. I’d pour water from the pot into a glass and drink it through the straw. I carried on conversations for what seemed hours discussing the important events to my imaginary friends. I most often played by myself. I was good at entertaining myself. I’m sure the housekeeper was somewhere nearby but she wasn’t in the kitchen when I played. It always seemed I was in the house alone…always alone.

What is it about things we attach emotions to? That little teapot, straw, and bed table were my connections to my mother. I was too young to remember much of her at any other time other than in bed.

I only have two memories of my mother. As a pre-schooler I was very determined to do things my way. I climbed the stoop to the front door. My aunt, a nurse who was caring for my mother, came to the door. I wanted to see my mother. I was told that right then Mommy was sleeping. I sneaked around past her and scampered up the stairs. My mother was awake and she greeted me when I appeared at her door. I think I remember these things. I crawled into bed with her with some difficulty because the bed was raised on wooden blocks. She encircled me with her arms and brushed the hair back from my face. She actually talked to me. This didn’t happen too often. My aunt soon appeared and said Mommy needed to rest. I was happy. Mommy kissed my forehead and I jumped out of bed going on my way. My love tank was full.

I think I understand where this guy is coming from:

“This is why sometimes it’s hard to let go of stuff. You’re not really that concerned about the item itself, but you’re losing the connection to someone else or some part of you that the item represents.” Written by Trent

I had let go of the teapot but I’ve been looking for it ever since. I’ve lost the connection I’ve had with my mother and I’ve spent the last four decades trying to regain it. I have her dishware, silverware, crystal, and the silver tea set. These things mean little to me. Some day they will be in an estate sale. They are of

no emotional value. They were always stuck away in cabinets. My globe trotting son certainly has no use for them. I used them before our divorce when I entertained, but seldom after that. For the most part, they are just “stuff”. My nieces have all they need. Perhaps my great nieces may wish for them as a connection to their great grandmother. They certainly never knew her.

Some time I’ll have to sit down and try to figure out why I’m so concerned about gaining back a connection that was so temporary. From the time I was one I spent more time with my aunt next door than I ever did with my mother. I’m guessing since I never knew her when I was old enough to remember, we never had any moments like many other mothers and daughters experience while the daughters are growing. She can always remain my perfect mother and I can always yearn to be back in her arms.

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