Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trinkets and Treasures - No. 3

Here's a small item that I treasure in a big way:

This little glass dish may appear to be empty, but it's actually full of childhood memories. It used to sit on my grandmother's dresser, where it held hairpins and bobby pins at her fingertips when she swept up her hair each morning.

My grandmother also had a large, heavy, V-shaped magnet, and I loved to play with the magnet and the bowl of bobby pins. I would dump the pins out on Mammaw's bedroom floor and arrange them into an elaborate design, only to eradicate the whole thing a minute later with one grand sweep of the powerful magnet. Then I'd do it all over again. And again and again.

(It occurs to me as I'm writing this that I can only think of one other thing that fascinated me in a scientific way as much as magnetic attraction did when I was a child. That other thing would be the way mercury from a broken thermometer spilled out onto the floor and formed tiny silver balls that we rolled around with our fingertips one long afternoon, smashing the larger balls into many smaller ones, just as round, then pushing the tiny balls back together to form a large ball again. No child would be allowed to play with mercury today, but if that exposure harmed me in any way, I'm not aware of it. Then again, maybe that could explain a thing or two.)

I don't know what happened to my grandmother's big magnet, but the pretty glass bowl came home with me after she passed away. I'm glad to have it as a reminder of those times and as a link between her life and mine. To make things even better, I have this picture (taken in 1950) of Mammaw doing her hair, the little glass dish on the dresser in front of her:

(Click photo to enlarge.)


  1. I just love this post. I have similar things, here and there, in my house.....with similar memories attached to them.

  2. And isn't it soooo beautiful. There is something about glass that is so perfect when it never gets broken over all the years - if its treasured, it stays just as beautiful as ever, in the eyes of the beholder no doubt - filled with all the memories. The glass I have as family heirlooms on my Mother's side of the family are such a treasure, like trinkets I pull from a velvet sack now and then when i feel its safe to show them and know they will be understood..... :)

  3. How wonderful to not only have the glass bowl, but a photo of your Mammaw doing exactly what you remember her doing, as you associate the bowl with the memory. Beautiful!

  4. how secial to have that....I also remember playing with the mercury I thought it as the greatest....I'm with you, this may explain a few things about me! LOL

  5. That is just lovely. I have three items from my grandmother. One is a glass bowl she kept her bobby pins in!

  6. Thank you, Val. I read your post yesterday about keepsakes and enjoyed it very much.

    Anonymous (is that you, Laura?), I'm glad you have those glass reminders of your mom. Did you also inherit the wine bottle with the melted wax on it? :)

    Duly Inspired, that photo of my grandmother is one of my favorites. She was 54 when it was taken. I thought she was SO old then, but she looks young to me in this picture now.

    4th Sister, maybe we need to sign up for some mercury exposure tests. Do you think they'd pay us?

    Holly, I'm sure you treasure your grandmother's bobby pin bowl as much as I do mine.

  7. what a great memento! My mom has something similar. And it's great that you have a photo of her doing her hair. So many women of that generation wouldn't be photographed doing anything personal like that.

    And I remember playing with mercury as a kid too-that probably does explain why we are the way we are!


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