Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Needed a writing prompt today

I have zero stitching to show you and I've had a few days with absolutely nothing to write about.  Unless the thought of reading about bookkeeping and housework gives you thrills, then maybe I could be your favorite writer.

So I'm using a NaBloPoMo writing prompt today.  And now I'll stop whining and get to it:

Describe an heirloom that has been passed down through generations of your family. What is its significance to you personally?

I have a couple favorite things that used to belong to my grandparents.  I don't know that they are exactly heirlooms - they have no special monetary value, but lots of sentimental value.

This first piece is from my paternal grandmother's kitchen.  I used to spend some weekends with her, and we'd get up each morning and put bread in one of those 1920 style toasters - where the bread fits into doors that fold up - and then she'd have me grind her coffee beans.  It was my favorite job.  And it was probably the source of my love for good coffee, too.

The next pieces are old carnival glasses that were my maternal grandfather's.  They were souvenirs from trips to the Trenton Fair in 1914 and from Atlantic City in 1909.  His Aunt Ivy took him on those trips - one of the glasses has her name on it, and his name is on the other two.  I'm guessing that she brought the 1909 glass back as a gift - he would have been a baby.  But he would have been five years old in 1914, so he may have actually gone to the Trenton Fair.

I can only imagine my grandfather's glee at going to the fair. Here's a description of the Trenton Fair at around that time:

Local prominent businessmen, wanting to establish the fair as an annual event with a permanent location and a racetrack, organized the Inter-State Fair Association in 1888. More than one hundred acres were purchased, which includes the present-day acreage of the sculpture park.

The Inter-State Fairs were a huge success, drawing crowds to view the displays of various breeds of horses, cattle and other livestock, agricultural products and farming equipment, culinary arts and needlework. Midway attractions, entertainment featuring daredevil stunts, and horse races were always popular with the spectators. Special events held that first year included a shooting match between Annie Oakley and Miles Johnson, and demonstrations of horsemanship and lassoing by cowboys and Indians from Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show. Parachutists jumping from hot-air balloons thrilled audiences in the 1890s. Starting at the turn of the century, death defying shows starring pioneers of aerial navigation, including Harriet Quimby, one of the first women to hold a pilot's license, and automotive racing, were booked to entertain the crowds filling the grandstand. As horses were replaced by automobiles for transportation, cars became the main attraction on the fairground's racetrack. 

So those two things - the glasses and the coffee grinder - make me remember my connection to my grandparents again .  They'll never appear on Antiques Roadshow, but that connection makes them precious to me.


  1. You have given me an idea for my next post. I too am at a loss as to what to post. Thanks for sharing your memories. They bring back a few for me as well.

  2. I had to look to see if you were discussing Trenton, NJ. Sure enough.

    I remember my grandmother had a glass similar to what you have shown. I think my sister has it now since they shared their name.