I often look back on my life and wonder just how poor we might have been. We lived with our grandparents for a while when my parents ventured out to Ohio to find work. That must have been a difficult time or my grandparents financially, but we never knew it, we always had a garden to rely on for food. We did not have meat at every meal, but on Sunday it seemed there was always a feast.
We did not have an abundance of toys. We often received several gifts at Christmas, but I do not recall many birthday gifts if any. Birthdays were always celebrated – first with either being awakened by someone greasing your nose with butter or blackened with soot from the fireplace. We all got birthday ‘spankings’ which did not hurt and were more celebratory – one for every year of your life and of course – one more ‘to grow on’ (that one always stung a little!)
Instead, being outside and exploring nature was how we occupied our time. I have written about growing up near the creek which you can read here. I found the most fascinating things in and around the creek bed. This is how I came to collect small shards of glass.
There is something quite beautiful about a piece of glass that has tumbled over the rocks so the edges are rounded and smooth. I suppose this is why sea glass is so treasured among jewelry designers. The glass pieces pulled from the creeks were often recognizable pieces of a distant person’s life.
Pop bottles (soda bottles) were a very common find and did not interest me much. It was not unusual to find the top or bottom of a bottle (they were thicker) but the most interesting was when you found the side of the bottle with the brand name intact.
My favorite pieces were small pieces of someone’s china (not that country people had china – let’s just say dishes.) A small edge of a plate with a delicate flower, or a tea cup handle with a hint of gold paint. I could weave countless stories about how these delicate objects found their way into the creek.
My glass shards were stored in the cardboard box my Barbie came in. I only kept the smooth tumbled pieces that spoke to me of another place and another life. Of all my childhood possessions, this is the one thing I miss the most.
Did you have a special object as a child you wish you still had?