The other day I decided to take the plunge and put some of my EAPG and American Brilliant glassware for sale in my Etsy shop.
Then I unpacked these bowls.
Suddenly, I could taste Aunt Jen’s famous macaroni salad. Emma’s even more famous German potato salad with bacon and oil. Pretzels and chips and homemade cole slaw…all served at our Janvier Road bungalow.
In these very same pieces.
I’d carted them around with me ever since they were packed away in 1960, then repacked and cataloged in the early 1990s. Now, I started to realize just how much work was ahead of me, as I tried to figure out the patterns, dates, etc.
But then the memories came flooding back, and it occurred to me that perhaps I should simply use them again. I could picture them in all their sparkly glory at summer BBQs, on a formal Thanksgiving table, at Christmas. Or maybe on a special movie night, filled with popcorn.
I ran them by the experts first. (Always a good idea)
I asked some serious collectors if any of the bowls were priceless rarities. They aren’t – so if one breaks it’ll totally freak me out. But it won’t be the end of the world.
But one expert made my decision easy.
She said, “It will mean more to your family if they can attach a family memory to it. That can only be done through use, not display.”
It was because they were used that these pieces were so precious to me. So why not do the same for my family now?
It didn’t take long at all to create a new memory.
As I was photographing the bowls (or trying to – glass is seriously challenging!), my granddaughter chose this one as her favorite. I told her that it’s New Martinsville’s “Radiance” from the 1930s. Her eyes lit up as she realized just how old it is, and that it had a name and a history.
That’s when I knew that these bowls will never be sold.
My family will now share those same lovely pressed glass bowls that I grew up with. One day they, too, will remember the tabbouleh, Greek salad, pita chips and, yes, potato and macaroni salad. And chances are very, very good that some of the bowls will make it, unscathed, to the children’s homes…and their children’s homes, as well.
And why shouldn’t they? After all, they already survived 100 years of family weekends, church picnics — and my cousins, my brother and me.
I’ll still sell some pieces that I simply have no room for.
But I’m going to hold onto many more. Not only to make memories, but to introduce a new generation first-hand, up close and personal, to the treasures of America’s first industry.