Kim’s Tea Set
My father recently sold one of his houses, and among the treasures I received was my childhood porcelain tea set. My mother had taken the time before she left this world to carefully label it “Kim’s” with a blue magic marker. Since I’m the only daughter, that probably wasn’t necessary, but it shows she wanted to make sure I got it when the time came. Our dad has lost his moorings and is now dating a woman with three grown children and 11 grandchildren and who doesn’t like dogs, so perhaps mom‘s labeling was more intuitive than any of us would have believed. In any case, it’s a Hygge feeling to get my tea set back on the other side of 50. I look at the disintegrating box and think of how we’ve both aged, this tea set and I. We both have been broken along the way and are missing a few pieces from our original start up set, but we can still hold water.
The pink Sears Big Toy Box logo rests in the corner of the box, bringing back all the warm feels of visiting my grandmother at work in the Sears catalog division in downtown Waycross, Georgia in the 1960s days of the Wish Book -yesterday’s Amazon with a slightly longer wait time and a lot more hope.
My 54 year old hands pick up the teapot and pretend-pour a cup of hot tea into one of the little rosebud cups and wish my mother were here to impart her golden wisdom as the imaginary tea leaves and liquid coalesce and the saucers remember all the once upon a times.
Flint and Steel
As aesthetically pleasing merchandise displays go, I would have to say that my favorite luxury soap boutique is on the minimalist spectrum. Its glass doors open to clean white walls adorned with matching shallow shelves offering highly-fragranced colorful soaps lined up in neat rows with custom-printed label bands on pastel scrapbook papers. The aromatic allure is a modern form of witchcraft.
Marbleized and solid colored hand-sliced bars promise relaxing or invigorating lathers of sensual transport to other worlds where worries and troubles are vaporized into steamy swirls.
So many choices: Mystic Quest (rumored to contain dragon’s blood), Oatmeal Honey, Vegan Castile, Morning Citrus, Cool River, Mountain Mist, Lavender Fields, Purple Haze, and the seasonal scents.
I can resist all these, though. I amble, spellbound, over to the men’s shelf and select a bar of Flint and Steel as my husband’s Valentine’s Day gift. I put it to my nose, close my eyes, inhale deeply, and smile. The label doesn’t reveal my suspicions, but I figured out its secret ingredient a long time ago.
During the month of March, join us at twowritingteachers.org as we share a slice of life each day.
Even with today’s fashion trend of leggings under skirts, it doesn’t take too much to remind me why I choose pants over dresses every time I go shopping. A sighting of a glass elevator, an open staircase, a surfer dude, or an angled shoe mirror, and I’m a time traveler straight back to 1981 to the halls of my South Carolina high school.
He showed up in French class with his shoulder-length wavy blond hair,
wrinkled t-shirt and flip flops, and Sony Walkman headphones. Madame Howard called the roll, but Doug L. kept right on daydreaming of the beach, with his closed-eye head groove. We didn’t know it then, but in that split second the lasting image of a yearbook “most popular” superlative was forever seared into our minds.
All the girls wanted to date Doug L., but his heart was somewhere back in California paddling out to catch the next wave. What he hadn’t left there, though, was a prankish bullying sort of humor that wouldn’t quit. He cheated on English tests by writing the answers on a scrap of paper and taping them to the ceiling over his desk using a yardstick so that it appeared to everyone that he was looking up in deep thought to recall the information. He raised his eyebrows and invoked a romantic accent with an inflected question mark on certain French vocabulary words, especially the week he spent walking up to every girl in the school and asking, “un morceau?”
But the prank that sticks with most of us still cuts, thirty five years later. He laced a jagged piece of a broken mirror in his shoes and went around looking up every skirt, winning bets about what color underwear we were all wearing, leaving us broke and baffled about how he knew.
Until we saw all the boys huddled over by the smoking wall, doubled over with laughter and pointing at Doug’s feet. And that is how a broken mirror or a Walkman or a frayed shoelace moment can shatter a day or a life.