‘So this is Christmas at Crossroads…..’
Silver spoons are on my mind. I’ve just taken down the kitchen Christmas tree (the longest a tree has ever remained!!!).
Looking at all these spoons and thinking about the family stories they have to tell….
……I can’t believe it is my turn already!!! I am now the grandmother with the young granddaughter who will someday use the silver previously passed down to me. How well I remember my grandmother, Lena, explaining the provenance of teaspoon, demitasse or souvenir spoon; names, initials, dates and places engraved on some, and the story behind others. Her words are etched in my memory as surely as the engravings on the silver.
S.E.D. – Susan Eliza Downs,
my great grandmother after whom I am named.
Lena may have received this spoon to commemorate her eighteen birthday in 1908.
The following year she was married to George Wallingford Downs.
Quoting Lena from a note she left with this hammered sterling sugar spoon:
My sugar spoon given to me as a wedding present – by Edith Goodwin. 1909 LMD
Lena took her maiden name, Miller, as a middle name when she married. Her mother,
Mary Elizabeth Judd Miller
passed this set of teaspoons on to her only daughter, Lena.
My father’s baby teeth marks in the bowl of one of the spoons.
Mary Elizabeth Judd Miller also passed her mother’s serving spoon (one of six) on to Lena,
M.A.J. – Mary Ann Judd
the other five given, one each, to Lena’s five brothers:
Benjamin, Thomas, Bernard, Wallace, and Frederick
Lena Miller Downs
and this is just the beginning…..
Being Italian means serving food at every possible occasion and lots of it…Christmas Eve Eve is certainly no exception.
Following the Bagna Cauda, pasta of course!!
favorite sauces added to the menu by family and guests:
red sauce with Vodka
red sauce with sausage and vegetables
red sauce with tuna and peas
each one delicious!!!
In my world, no meal is complete without something sweet:
zabaglione: egg custard with Marsala
and afogato: vanilla ice cream, with coffee, chocolate sauce,
and whipped cream
heritage honored – traditions kept alive – memories made
Life happens in the kitchen, so why not Christmas!
we have been enjoying small celebrations in the kitchen this year before some of the family scatters…
heirloom spoons decorate the tree on the kitchen counter
old English ironstone pudding bowls reflect the lights on the tree
Christmas cards on the ‘bulletin board’
festive dishes ready to use
simple touches of green evoke the spirit of the season
tiny nativity figures for small fingers
to tell the greatest story of all!!!
Always interested in family history, I have now become the family historian.
A favorite quote from ‘Healing Old Wounds’ by Judy Ryden speaks to my love of the subject:
“All children deserve two things: one is roots, the other is wings.”
As the ‘children’ have gotten older and found their wings, they, and their spouses and children have become more interested in their roots. Beginning with Christmas 2001, and every year since, I have given a segment of their history to each one interested. Choosing an individual or two,
I copy pictures,
– all things pertinent, interesting and many times, beautiful.
To this I add short written summary or vignette of the ancestor’s life,
then a ‘Key’ to explain where and how to integrate the new segment into those already given,
and wrap them with love as a gift from my heart.