Afternoons with my grandmother were spent sipping tea. Hot tea, no matter the weather. Tea from delicate, beautiful and oh-so-fragile teacups. A cube or two of sugar, the lovely sound of metal against porcelain, a small silver spoon resting on the matching saucer. She kept them on a sideboard, and each afternoon we would select a cup, and even though I tried to choose a different one every day, there were so many, I am sure there were some I never got the chance to drink from. Some of those teacups once belonged to my great-grandmother Nina.
Nina and her closest friends shared a special birthday tradition. When it was one of their birthdays, the others would all contribute to purchase a teacup for the birthday girl. They were gilt edged, with porcelain so thin you could see though, varied and flowerful. Favorites were worn and chipped, handles glued back on, always practical and frugal, never thrown away.
In the end. In the last months of my grandmother’s life, the thing she insisted on moving with her to the nursing home were her teacups. I hope someone made tea for her in the afternoons, maybe sat with her. I hope they brought her comfort. I hope they provided memories. Memories, maybe of me. A little girl, feeling grown up, sitting in a sunny parlor drinking tea from beautiful teacups with my grandmother.