Good morning to everyone. Hope if you live in the Chicago area you are able to stay cool. Funny how lucky we really are these days because of air conditioning!
So, my toppic for today is about a simple teapot...and what that brought into my life.
When I think of tea....I have so many different thoughts that come to my mind. So many places these days to purchase tea...of all flavors and combinations. There are various tea houses and types of teas and ceremonies that we can attend. The number one on my list to experience is a Japanese tea Ceremony. I have searched and finally found one in Rockford, Illinois at the Anderson Japanese Gardens. It is on my plans for sure.
Now when I think back to when I was young...the only type of tea my grandmother made was the simple Lipton tea. It was always hot and mostly when you were sick. Grandma would make the tea with lemon, honey and Rock and Rye. I remember the bottle of Rock and Rye so well. It had a diamond cut out in the top of the glass that was the neck of the bottle. In the bottom of the bottle were these chunks of Rock candy. This was Grandma's cure all for a cold. I am not really sure whether it took the cold away...or just made you not care whether you had one or not....but non the less, it was far better that her warm milk with melted butter and crushed garlic.
Well, the only time I was exposed to Ice tea was when I visited my Aunt Honey and Uncle Bob's house. My Uncle Bob was from the South, so he had conditioned my Aunt to make iced tea. There was always a cold pitcher with lemon in the fridge. Oh, how I loved her iced tea. Of course, now adays I learned that it was sweet tea...only they just called it tea!
Now, at home, my grandmother had this teapot sitting on a shelf in a corner of her kitchen...it was a white teapot with shaded pink roses that justted out from it's flat surace and it sat right behind where she sat in her rocking chair. Whenever I sat in the chair to talk to Gram, I not only stared at her sweet aging face, but also at the teapot. One day, Grandma asked me if I could have anything in the world that she owned...what would it be. I told her that I would love to have her rose teapot. I explained to her that when I look at it, I automatically connect her with it. Years went by and I had forgotten about that conversation. The day that Grandma passed away, my mom and I returned to the house and just sat and tried to make heads or tails of what to do next. My mother at one point stood up and walked over to the shelf in the corner of the room and took down the teapot and handed it to me. She told me that Grandma said that on the day she should die, that my mother was to give me that teapot. I was a blundering fool at that moment. I sobbed uncontrollably over the gesture and the conversation about it had flooded back to my mind. I found a place to put it at home in my china cabinet .where I knew it would be safe.
On days when I was feeling down or lonely, I would take the teapot out and fill it with tea and sit with a special tea cup and saucer and drink from it. I felt as though in those moments, that Grandma was still with me. Still a part of me, whether I could see her or not.
Well, as time went by, I decided that I loved teapots. I started to see them in stores and in yard sales. I didn't have a lot of money back then, but I bought a teapot at a yard sale and set it next to Grandma's. One day, my mother-in-law was over and noticed the 2 tea pots sitting together and made a comment about it. I told her I was thinking about maybe collecting them. The next thing I knew....she brought me one of hers to add to my collection. Soon I began receiving teapots as gifts. My first Christmas teapot came from a dear male friend of ours named Mike. He bought me for Christmas one year a Fitz an Floyd teapot of Santa on his sleigh with his team of reindeer. It included a creamer and sugar bowl. My first smaller teapots came from my friend Susan...they were little couch teapots that had kittens on them. Then one of my daughters friends Kristy gave me a beautiful white set with violets on it that were in 3D. Even my son-in-law purchased a tiger one for me when we were all at the Racine zoo. Now I started to purchase teapots from ebay and various stores. I love the hunt for that special one. I remember when I became a storyteller...I found a Mother Goose one...when I became Mrs. Claus, I found one with Mr. and Mrs. Claus sitting on a couch reading a book...perfect for the Mrs. Claus storyteller. I love the ones that are unique and different. I searched for all the holiday types. I just recently found a small miniature teapot for new years eve. Well, I have consequently, landed up with quite the collection these days. I have well over 160 teapots in various sizes. I designed my dining room and the annex to my dining room with teapots on shelves, in cabinets and cupboards. I change them out for the holidays, I love to use them as well. Most people that collect things allow dust to gather...I use them for tea, milk and even gravy. Those small gravy boats have never been large enough to hold enough gravy for my family or guests.
I, through the years have collected tea cups and saucers as well...those now hang on special wire hooks along the soffits in my kitchen.
I have expanded my knowledge about tea. Took some classes about where teas come from, how they are dried, etc. I learned about their medicinal properties. I learned to cook with flavored teas and must say that Celestional Seasoning teas are great for that. In fact, I even hosted a tea dinner where everything from soup to desserts were made with tea and it was fantastic! I have found various teas that I love. I hate to admit it, but I have 2 cabinets filled with boxes and cans of different teas, along with my tea serving box that is filled with Stash tea.
I have broken a few tea pots along the way through the years...but guard my Grandma's teapot with my life. The rest are fun and meaningful...but Grandma's...well that is a rare, one of a kind.
Now at one point, I had thought how wonderful it would be to hand them down to my granddaughters. I could share Grandmaand me when I am gone from this world...but I had 2 granddaughters, so that idea wouldn't work! One day I was searching for something totally out of the blue for something that was rose related on ebay...and you would not believe...but the creamer and sugar bowl in the same pattern as my Grandmothers teapot showed up....well, if that wasn't a sign, I didn't know what was...so I bid on the set. It was from a company called Lefton. I went to Gram's teapot and looked on the bottom and sure enough, that it what it read. I won the bid, and now had a creamer and an extra sugar bowl...which I thought was fine since I serve sugar and splenda.
Now if that were not crazy enough....I was in an antique barn in Bartlett , Illinois at Banbury Fair and found an identical teapot to Grandmas....what were the odds? I purchased the teapot and thought..."There....problem solved" a teapot for each girl....and then my daughter had another daughter....folied again!
I do have a friend who God had sent my way, that even though we do not share the same blood or DNA,is my daughter in every possible way. She comes out to spend weekends, helps me tremendously and is just the sweetest woman anyone would want to meet. She and I spend many days together, painting, crocheting, sewing and drinking loads of tea. I have enlightened her to my new finds and she has done the same with me...So at a very difficult time in her life, I decided to share the teapot with her...I had willed it to her and then decided...why wait....so one day, I just gave her the teapot with the Grandma story and told her that it was my hope that in years to come, that she will think of me when she has her tea and sees that teapot. As years have gone by, I also got her a matching Mrs. Claus teapot...that matches the one I have....because she was going through a rough time and didn't want to face the holidays and decorate. She told me when she opened the box that she wasn't decorating anymore for Christmas...and of course I told her that putting out the teapot wasn't decorating...it was just having me around! She changed her mind and decorated that year.
Sharing is what is meant when you think of tea. They wrote the song..."Tea for Two"...not tea for one.
One time, I had a tea party for Valentine's Day for my daughter and Granddaughters. We had hats and boas....tea and cookies and a chocolate fountain with fruits. My granddaughters were having a wonderful time...although I don't think as much as I. When my younger granddaughter was shaking the teacup back and forth on the saucer....and my daughter was so worried that she might break it. She told me that perhaps I would like to give her just an old cup so that she didn't break my teacup and saucer. I just looked at my daughters strained face and assured her that a broken teacup and saucer could easily be replaced, but the moment and the memories that were being made couldn't. and to just relax and enjoy the time with them. Whether it was tea for two or tea for four...just fill the cup and have some more!