—or perhaps those are fringes on a lampshade
—or a delicate porcelain vase
—or my mother's tea cup
My mother collected tea cups. Actually her collection was rather small because China tea cups and saucers were expensive. Her collection —limited to about seven sets—occupied a prominent place on the mahogany armoire in the living room. Two faux Chinese bowls flanked the cups.
Growing up I thought the collection and the bowls showed a distinct lack of sensibility regarding modern design—add to those my mother's only antique—a maroon glass piece shaped like a shell.
"The small crack," my mother said, "was caused by age rather than neglect and carelessness." And because of the slight imperfection she owned this art deco piece for half of its purported value.
When she died, three months before her first great-grandchild was born, I took a few pieces: a cup and saucer, a Chinese bowl, and several maj jong tiles. The cup has a place on a bookcase—near a wood whale and a brass singing bowl. The Chinese bowl is a container for a potted philodendron. My mother bought me the plant twenty-five years ago.
"Every house needs a green plant."
I think it likes being repotted every ten years and the bowl is a perfect outer container. It, too, stays on the top of a bookcase sharing space with a radio and a small bell.
The maj jong tiles found a place in an old New England type box. Sometimes I think about my mother and her friends in the living room playing the game and calling out mysterious names: "Bam." "Dot".
So many memories from a cup, saucer, bowl and two tiles.