Vintage Books and Glasses

When I visited my sister recently, I had forgotten that she has been the guardian of some of the old family treasures from long ago. It was a pleasant surprise to see the items being kept safe behind the glass doors of a china cabinet.

The small blue liqueur glasses and decanter were perhaps bought in our first few years in Canada, more than half a century ago. The small wine or martini glass with the yellow swirls and the spiral stem is from a set that came to Canada with my parents back in 1953. This one is probably all that is left of the set.

When I saw it, I thought of my tongue. Odd, you might think, but memories that involve the senses can be very strong and long lasting.

My parents used to bring out these special yellow swirly glasses at Christmastime and pour a little egg liqueur from a bottle of Bols advocaat. We children were too young to be allowed alcohol, but once in a while, and because it was a festive season, we were allowed to lick out the last bit of advocaat from the yellow swirly glasses. Kind of gross, in hindsight, but as kids, we were thrilled.

So you can see that the yellow swirly glass holds special memories for me — not only the taste of the advocaat, but the smell of Christmas baking, the beautiful Christmas music, the coziness of the house and the love given to us by our parents.

Some might say these glasses are just inanimate objects, but they hold the key to a gold mine of memories.

Under the shelf with the glasses, two books leaned against the back of the cabinet. The old copy of Forever Amber, which I read when I was 16 (and that wasn’t yesterday), and another of my favourite stories, Little Black Sambo. The bigwigs now say that this book is racist, and have banned it, but I loved reading it and never once felt anything negative towards people of another race from that experience. My family and I simply loved that story.

Thanks to Luanne Castleย https://writersite.org/2017/11/02/magical-bowls/

for the nudge to trot out old memories.

57 thoughts on “Vintage Books and Glasses

  1. I remember all these treasures all too well. Christmas was always very special and festive in our family home. The swirly glass reminds me of the Bols advokaat liquer and using toothpicks to dip into that lovely golden liquid. It was thick enough that it coated the little stick so well and then was transferred onto our waiting tongues. Yum! You were a little older, so I guess they allowed you to use your tongue to clean out the glass. ๐Ÿ˜›
    I remember the blue glass decanter and glasses as well. That decanter always reminded me of the TV show “I Dream of Jeannie”. So glad our sister is taking such good care of these things. I know they mean the world to her.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Anneli, the glassware is really beautiful! My mum passed in 2012, Iโ€™ve slowly brought some of her cherished items home with me to Las Vegas. I totally understand about those wonderful memories! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think we all have cherished family treasures that hold in special memories in the nooks and crannies of our cupboards. I know I do! I’m inventorying them at the moment as a keepsake for our children so they too will be able to share in the memories …

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  4. I loved this!!! The swirly glass is really something. It looks so contemporary. What a wonderful memory. Did your family do a traditional German Christmas, Anneli? Isn’t that their background? I just wondered because my dad’s family is German, and Christmas really seems to mean more to them than to many people. I know that sounds a little crazy, but it’s so important to them. Regardless, Christmas memories always have a special warmth, I think. A time where the world feels like that liqueur coating your insides. As for the books, Forever Amber!!!! Haha, I didn’t think anybody remembered that book! It was really big in my mom’s time, and I found her book, of course, and read it and loved it. And the movie, too. I know the reasons why Little Black Sambo is no longer read, and they are good ones (part of it is the confusion over East Indians and African Americans), but I too loved it as a child and rather than promoting racism (with our limited knowledge of the world in those days) the book gave me good feelings for this little boy with much darker skin than I and most of my friends had. But the world goes on . . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • In the changing world we have today, maybe there are good reasons for banning Little Black Sambo, but I only remember loving that story and the brightly coloured pictures in it (and the touch of magic). Yes, my family came from Germany in 1953 and we had the traditional Christmas Eve Christmases. They were so beautiful, with a few presents, but without all the commercialized aspect that we have now. Those long ago Christmases were about hymns, snow, soft tree lights, family, happiness, a good dinner, a board game for all the kids to stay up late and play with while the parents and friends or extended family talked quietly in the dimly lit living room maybe sipping an egg nog and talking softly while German Christmas carols played on the old record player.

      Liked by 2 people

      • So beautiful and in the appropriate spirit of Christmas. I feel as if I have asked you this before: is it a German tradition to put candles in the window? My grandmother had to have her electric candles in the window every year. What was a little sad was that my grandmother moved to our town when I was about ten, and my mother’s large family always had a big progressive dinner on Christmas Eve, so we so often had to just spend a few minutes with Grandma on Christmas Eve, the time she most would have liked to have us there.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t think we had the candles in the window but we did have a lot of candles on in the house. That’s a shame about the short time you could spend with your Grandma. That’s one of the downsides of the progressive dinner idea, although there are many good reasons to do it this way.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The dinner was my maternal grandmother’s family. The houses included hers, her sister’s, and her brother’s, as well as those of my mom’s generation. The main dish was always oyster stew. I don’t know where this tradition came from. We of course invited my other grandmother who sometimes came with us, but I know she would have loved to have us all Christmas Eve. Instead, she spend all Christmas Day with us.

            Liked by 1 person

            • No oyster stew for us. Maybe that part of the family lived near the ocean (the North Sea?). We had goose for Christmas and later it was turkey. I know the Catholic families had fish. Maybe the oyster stew was part of a Catholic tradition?

              Liked by 1 person

              • I actually think the oyster stew is a Prussian (Protestant) tradition. I saw it online where somebody else’s Prussian family did that. My maternal side is all Dutch except for my grandmother’s mother, and that is where the tradition would have begun. Her family was prussian (which they called German). I have not been able to track down where they came from yet (so difficult), but I found my great-great-grandfather working at two different estates in Prussia. I saw a pic of one of them on Wikipedia, and it was a magnificent castle. Of course, it’s easy to see where the Dutch would end up liking a seafood meal on Christmas haha. Nevertheless, my paternal grandmother with the candles in the window came from Budesheim, right outside Bingen on the Rhine. They were Catholic. Are we going to write blog posts about this stuff ;)?

                Liked by 1 person

  5. Those are really wonderful memories you found in that cabinet. The glass pieces are pretty neat, too. I remember reading Little Black Sambo. I thought it was a marvelous thing that if tigers ran around a tree really fast they’d turn into butter. ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, there are no tigers in Africa so Sambo must have been living in Asia. Funny the things we accept as kids when the world is still new.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful glassware. Reminds me of all the beautiful glassware I gave away when I moved from my big house into my small apartment.
    But, as long as the new owners enjoy the stuff, it serves it’s purpose ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers !

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The glassware is very, very beautiful, Anneli! We treasure our old glasses too and use them for special occasions. We are not familiar with your books, but now Dina is trying to find a copy of “Forever Amber” for a lovely littleAmber girl we know. Have a wonderful weekend.
    Windy greetings from Norfolk,
    The Fab Four of Cley x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the copyright on that book is about 1944. To be honest, I don’t remember much about the book except that it was very popular when I was younger. It is probably a bit dated now, but it is a reminder of those old days. I think there is a lot of beautiful glassware in Europe – much more so than in North America. The older pieces are real treasures now so hang onto them. I think they would be hard to replace.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The conversation about Little Black Sambo is enlightening as well as weight-lifting – I feel I can admit it here that it was one of my favs, too. We lived in a very diverse place growing up so it wasn’t about ethnicity in my kiddo-mind but about ADVENTURE and butter!!!!
    ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love your crystal glass with yellow glass wound around it. This is unique and I would have loved to lick some liqueur from it. The blue glass set is gorgeous! I love the hand painted floral design and gold filigree and painted top. So dazxling to a child, I am sure.
    My parents had parties where the guests drank bourbon or Scotch sours, sometimes punch cups of a rum sour mixture. When we woke up, we would sneak down and eat mixed nuts and warm cheese on crackers. You know how people talk about cold cheese and germs in warm foods? We never got sick!
    We sipped what was remainder of drinks and never got in trouble since I was in charge of hand washing the cocktail glasses and punch cups. This was lovely and I feel I talk about lots of my “special stuff.” ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right. Children are more impressionable and some things that are special (either in good or bad ways) or traumatic, or that bring out more emotion than usual stay with us, sometimes forever. Thanks for your kind comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I just love old things, and old books are a particular favorite. it’s funny that when I was a kid a lot of the china and such that my parents owns were considered by me to be old fashioned; but now I’m so grateful that they held onto them and didn’t go with every new trend. It’s a lesson I want to continue. Maybe one day my kids will be talking about the cool stuff I’ve owned and the memories attached. Lovely read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How true it is that as children we don’t appreciate the value of many of the old traditions. We think we know everything and then sometime after the age of 18 we magically come around to understanding our parents. Good luck with teaching your kids about your “cool stuff.”

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Lessons from the Leaves and a few Friends – Lori's Lane

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