Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blue Glass & Ivory Soap

Blue Glass & Ivory Soap
These are the two things that come to mind when I think of my grandmother. From the time I was very little, I remember fondly going to visit Mommom & Poppop and looking at her collection of little blue glass bottles which she displayed on the window sill. There was something stunning about the way light comes through the bright blue glass on a window ledge. For years and years, Mommom collected various sizes and shapes of glass in blue. She has candy dishes, and vases, small little containers and larger ones from places like the thrift store she volunteers to vacations in Vegas. Most of these pieces sat in her large china cabinet in her dining room.
Not too long after my grandfather passed away, Mommom sold her row house in my hometown and moved into a brand new apartment complex for those over 55. While her new place was smaller, it had plenty of room for her most prized possessions, including her collection of blue glass and her large cabinet. I remember unwrapping the various pieces as we set them up in her new place. While the smaller bottles moved from the front window ledge to a shelf in her kitchen, seeing those pieces made it feel like Mommom's home to me.
She had been living for a few years in this new place, when just recently the rent went up...a lot. So much so, that Mommom debated whether she could afford to remain. Luckily, a vacant one bedroom became available and Mommom jumped on it! Again, this meant she would have to pack up her belongings and move. This time however, she was losing quite a bit of space. Instead of two bedrooms, she would now how one. Instead of two bathrooms, she would have one. She lost a storage area, closet, and a few feet in her living room.
She called me as she was packing up yet again, and asked if we would want some pieces of furniture- a dresser/small buffet and a table. A few days before we went,s she sent out an email saying that she was getting rid of her blue glass. I honestly cannot fathom Mommom's home without it.
Of course, I said yes to the furniture and yes to the blue glass, and a few weeks ago Mo, Maeve, & I ventured to Mommom's place to pick up these pieces. She had already gotten the keys to her new apartment, which Mo referred to as the attic since it was on the top floor, and so we were able to look at what would become her new home. It was brighter then the other apartment, but definitely smaller. When we went back to her former apartment, she showed me the green suit she had worn when she eloped with my grandfather all those years ago. She chuckled as she told me how she couldn't believe she had held onto it over all those year, and more so, how embarrassed she was that she had kept it in a plastic bag instead of taking it to the cleaners. She showed me the small buffet which now sits in our dining room waiting for a piece a marble/granite, and then the table which she said had always been her favorite, but now she had no room for it.
Finally, she showed me the large Rubbermaid container of blue glass and encouraged me to look through it. Honestly, at that moment I couldn't.
I left that day with the buffet and the table in the car, and the understanding that my grandmother would hold off giving me the blue glass until she had picked pieces herself for her new place.
Last week my dad dropped off the rubbermaid container. I do not know if Mommom kept any pieces, as we haven't made it to her new place yet. I opened up the container and found a shoebox filled with my favorite thing: the little blue bottles. There are 24 and by sheer coincidence 24 panes in the windows of our dining room. Talk about perfect fit, right?

I have yet to go through the rest of the box, mainly because I'm not quite sure where I can put any more pieces. I do know, however, that I will find a space for some of them.
Oh yeah, I titled this post- Blue Glass & Ivory Soap and realize I never mentioned this soap. Do you remember how smells trigger memories? Well whenever I smell ivory soap, immediately, wherever I am, a picture of my Mommom pops into my head! Lucky me, my Mommom doesn't smell like moth balls or old lady perfume, she smells clean and fresh and exactly like Ivory Soap!


  1. Jackie,
    Reading your lastest post really touched me. Both my grandmothers are long gone from this world but I am fortunate to have many things in my house that had been given to me that are constant reminders of them. There isn't a room in my house that doesn't have something tucked away in it that I will touch upon while I am cleaning and have such fond memories flooding my mind. Thank you so much for sharing about the blue glass. I am sure it gives your Grandmother such comfort to know that the blue glass that she cherished all those years will be cherished and enjoyed my your family.

  2. What a beautiful story. It's amazing how certain things remind you of someone special. It's so nice that you've been able to inherit the glass. Great post Jackie!


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