Friday, September 17, 2010

Family Archeaology

When I was nine or ten or twelve, I took my allowance money to the fabulous Mexican arts-and-crafts store in our town (the one where my mother, sister and I always shopped for each other) to look for Christmas gifts. There was a totally cool brass fish sculpture, designed as a box with a little lid on top. I loved it, but I never thought I'd be able to afford it.

When I looked at the price tag, it was eight dollars.

So of course I bought it, and couldn't wait for my mother to open it on Christmas morning, and she loved it as much as I did and kept it for the rest of her life. It just arrived in a box of my mother's things that my sister sent me; it's on a bookshelf in my study now. The lid has gotten lost, but I still love the fish.

That same store, La Puerta Del Sol -- which closed when I was in my twenties but has now returned, almost to the same spot, in a new and infinitely more expensive incarnation -- was the source of this fabulous sterling pin/pendant, which I believe cost twelve dollars, and which I gave my mother for Christmas when I was thirteen or fourteen. (That would have made it 1973 or 1974, if you're wondering about the price!) This piece was one of the first things I asked for when Liz and I were divvying up Mom's jewelry, and I get compliments every time I wear it, just as Mom did.

The box that arrived today also contained this puzzling object: a tiny sterling cup etched with a cross and "1925," the year of my mother's birth. I'd take it for a christening cup, but those usually have handles, don't they? This one looks more like a holy shot glass. I have no idea what it is and even less idea why my mother, who had no use for religion, would have kept it. It was black with tarnish when it arrived, and I had to spend quite a bit of time and elbow grease to make it look even this shiny.

My sister and her husband have gone to the shore this weekend, so I won't be able to ask her about it until Sunday night. I suspect she won't know what it is, either. Do any of you have any theories?


  1. Not a clue I'm sorry to say, but I love the fish. You had good taste at a young age.

  2. Looking great...I love it


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