by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
While thumbing through a back issue of a popular financial magazine, there was a full page advertisement that caught my eye. The photo was in black and white and showed an attractive, smiling woman sitting comfortably on a sofa, while talking on the telephone. Near her pants leg were the words, “old jeans”, near her wrist, “Grandpa’s watch” and next to her hand holding the phone, “best friend”. I had no idea what product was being advertised, so enthralled with the photo and the wording that went with it. Glancing to the bottom of the page, I saw a wine bottle and a description of a merlot that the winery was highlighting. The company’s slogan was “Here’s to the things in life you can count on”. This advertisement captivated me, especially the words, Grandpa’s watch. It was a well designed description of the things most of us want in life that easily make us happy like comfortable clothing, good friends and our ties to the past and fond memories.
This commercial prompted me to remember some of the lovely things I have from my grandparent. Among the items I have are things that were my grandmother’s and that I adored as a child and still do now. As a little child I use to go over to my grandmother’s quite regularly as she only lived a few blocks away. Sometimes I stayed overnight and that would mean breakfast and lunch with Grandma the next day. She was a wonderful cook, too. My favorite parts of these meals were the dishes and utensils that I used. Hot coca was served in a Little Orphan Annie mug that had Annie’s face chiseled on the front, three dimensional style. Scrambled eggs were made in Grandma’s glass frying pan that made the best tasting eggs in the world. (Perhaps it was the thick slice of melted butter in the pan and the “beaten till they were frothy eggs”, as grandma told me this was the secret.) If I had cereal for breakfast, I ate it with a Charlie McCarthy silver spoon. Who was Charlie McCarthy? He was a puppet that was the comedy part of a ventriloquist act performed by Edgar Bergen. Charlie was dressed in a tuxedo, top hat and wore a monocle. American actor and radio performer, Bergen had his successful act from 1937 through 1956 on the radio, Grandma told me. When I slept over Grandma’s we would also listen to the radio together since in the early fifties grandma did not see the need to buy a television yet. And that was how I learned who Charlie McCarthy was and to recognize his likeness on this favorite spoon I used. There were so many little trinkets at Grandma’s house that it was a little museum of her life. Grandma also spoke of the World’s Fair she went to in 1939 and how wonderful it was. She showed me these tiny little “pickle pins” that were given free to guests that visited the Heinz pavilion. Two little pins sat in her desk drawer and later on were given to me when the world’s fair came to New York in 1964 and we talked about the sites I saw there. I am sure most of us have treasured items that are special to us. These items are part our past and are a way to stay close to the ones we loved or of the days that meant so much to us. They may not have a huge monetary value, but to us they are worth a fortune!