Thursday, October 8, 2015

...The. Bowl.


Every once in a while, you have one of those internet sales/purchases that REALLY touches a heartstring, and gives 'soul' to an object.  We had this happen in the last month, with what we 'had' thought to be 'an old bowl'...  it had crazing, and wear, but it was intact without any chips, so we decided we would give a try at finding it a new home...

You see, J & I received a few LOVELY BOWLS as wedding gifts from dear friends...

One of our favorite sets is a William~Sonoma with (4) side bowls in an herbal pattern... and you all KNOW my love of Herbies!!  I don't know if we have ever actually used the Serving Bowl, but we use the side bowls Very Often - perfect for salads and the like.

Our other BOWL that is in constant rotation is a BENNINGTON with matching salad tongs (and again, you KNOW my love of Bennington Pottery!).  As with the other, I don't think this bowl has ever been used for serving salad, but it comes out at every large gathering/party!  We have a matching Dip/Salsa Chiller & Bowl w/ stand that sets perfectly in the middle and the large bowl holds the chips underneath.  Makes 'perfect' sense ~ Right?!!

Now, back to our internet sale...
  A women (C1) from the other side of the U.S. purchased the bowl, and asked to have it sent to a different address ~ her brother (X). We asked if it were for a special occasion - would she like it gift wrapped / greeting enclosed?   She then sent a note for us to include: (With her permission, I am inserting it here - though, somehow the photo of her original bowl won't convert to Blogger?!  Yes, it's long, but I couldn't figure out a good way to shorten it without losing some of the feeling!...)

Dear X,                                                                                                September 30th, 2015

I could write you a long story, one that would go on and on. You’d be reading so long, you might even have time to grow yourself a long, white beard by the time the story ends. Instead, I’ll spare you ALL the details and just write what is important.

As you may remember, 37 years ago, I moved from our hometown in Wisconsin to  Florida. I got a job at a fine department store where I was a floater. I floated from the shoe department, the lingerie department, to the Gift Department. Whenever I worked in the Gifts, I would stare at a very beautiful pasta bowl that was on display. I really admired it. Being the traditional Italian family that we were, it was my understanding that every woman have a special dish she served her spaghetti in. Our mother had one, our sister M was given one from our Italian Aunties at her bridal shower, and I figured I should have one when I got married as well.

It was July, 1978 and G and I were to be married. Because I was so new to the area and all the family very far away, my only acquaintances were the girls I was getting to know at work, and our new friends at a Youth Ministry. Because of that, there was no wedding shower, nor were any gifts sent. I knew if I were going to get a pasta bowl, I would probably have to get it on my own.

I didn’t make very much money as a part-time department store clerk. Purchasing a pasta bowl over so many other necessities was out of the question. I dreamed of having a bowl like that but the price was far from anything I could afford. The assistant manager noticed me looking at it one day and asked me why the fascination. I told her the story and added the fact that my family had just moved rather far away, and were not going to be able to make it to our wedding. In fact, no family members from either side were able to come.

We got married on a Friday night in a city park with just a few friends in attendance. I briefly recall one of my co-workers coming to our wedding and handing me a rather large gift box. She and several of the girls, along with the assistant manager, scraped their money together and purchased the expensive bowl as a gift. I cried when I opened it. It was the most thoughtful thing anyone had ever done.

As you know, our first daughter is getting married, and she too will need a nice spaghetti bowl. Realizing it was her turn, I looked online for the perfect bowl and could never find one as nice as mine. When I found this (the one pictured) on eBay, I knew I needed to buy it for her. It’s exactly like the one I stared at on the department store shelf 37 years ago.

While I was on my quest to find the perfect spaghetti bowl, I ran across the very same bowl our mother used when she served spaghetti! No one could appreciate that picture as much as you, J, M, C, C2, or I would. I had to blink twice to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. It was the exact bowl. I texted our sister M to make sure I was correct. Conveniently, she was on vacation visiting our brother J. Since M already had her own special bowl, I had her find out if J had one. M confirmed he didn’t have one.

So, I did what any GOOD sister would do. I sent him the bowl, along with the above explanation. He was very shocked and surprised when he opened the box. It took him back in time to days of loud family meals, and the smell of our rich family sauce permeating the air. The bowl was always heaped with a golden mound of pasta and frosted in red Italian gravy. The meatballs were the size of a cats head, lined up like ladies waiting to dance around the perimeter of the bowl. Our mouths watered until we had the first bite!

J and I talked on the phone for about two hours that night. He wondered why he got the bowl over any of the other siblings. I explained to him that I felt it only right I make sure our sisters had first dibs. M and I already had ours, C said although she never received a special bowl, it didn’t matter much since she is gluten-free and doesn’t eat much pasta. C2 has a bowl but rarely serves spaghetti out of anything other than the pot. It seemed only right that J, being the first born, receive the bowl.

Before J and I ended our conversation on the phone, he said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could find another bowl like this and send it to X from the both of us?” I told him I would check eBay again and get back to him. It was his idea, as well as desire to make sure you had one like Mother’s. Together we wondered if you had a bowl, or maybe it went out the door through harder times.

I wrote to your daughter and she confirmed you too were amongst the “bowless.” That was all we needed to send this your way. I wouldn’t have looked for this bowl right then if J hadn’t suggested it. I give him full credit for thinking of this idea and making sure you had one too.

We know it’s not your birthday, and Christmas is still a few months away. This gift was meant to let you know you are thought of, remembered, and closer to our hearts than the miles that separate us all. Please enjoy and cherish this gift from J and I, to you.

We love you deeply,
J and C1

Ps. Special thanks to the eBayer who patiently waited for me to write this letter so it could be included with the bowl. I believe they gift wrapped it just for you. 

...and I'm happy to report that I just received a follow up note from C1~ The BOWL arrived SAFE & SOUND... X was 'tickled', 'hugged the bowl and admired it' and 'it reminded him of precious days gone by'.  Now he too would like to implement the spaghetti bowl tradition with his kids!!
  Yes, it is days like this that make me 'SMILE'.  Do any of you have a 'special bowl' in your life??


Le-Chat said...

Great story! Isn't it wonderful to learn why you buyers purchase an object, no matter if it's a big story or not. One that comes to mind is the woman who bought my vintage V&B coffee pot to replace her mother's broken one. I'm pleased to know it's actually in use and not just somewhere on display.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

What a lovely story and I think its why so many of us shop vintage. It brings back memories and the objects of our lives are so special. Thanks for sharing this with us.


Chrissy Larson said...

Thanks for sharing my story. I appreciated all you did as the bowl passed through your hands.

Believe it or not, there were elements I left out of that already LONG story. As I said in the "The Bowl", the original motive was a quest for the perfect bowl for my soon-to-be-married daughter. After I found a copy of mine and sent it to her, I knew I needed to find bowls just like it for my other unmarried children. I was totally successful. They are in the attic and await wedding dates.

After sister #4 read the story, it inspired her to purchase a spaghetti bowl as a wedding gift for sister #1 son, who was recently married. She thought it would be special if she could find a bowl that matched sister #1 original spaghetti bowl... the one our Italian aunties purchased for her back when she got married. After all, her son should have a replica of the one that he ate out of as a child. Sister #1 emailed me the details from the bottom of her bowl and I started my search. I'm happy to report I just won the bid for it on eBay. He'll be so surprised when he and his wife receive the bowl from sister #4.

This project has had such a ripple affect, I'm truly thinking about writing a book!

One more interesting fact: every bowl mentioned, including my mothers, has been manufactured by the very same pottery company.

The only way to end this comment is to say, To Be Continued!

svelteSTUFF said...

WOW!! We are so Happy that we could be Small part of one strand of The.Bowl story!! THANKS for the update!!!!!

Shara said...

This is a great story! It reminds me of the angel that I put back into the hands of a family. Makes your heart happy!