End of Storage Note:
Cranberry
12 March 2019

¶ It would be incorrect to say that we inherited the cranberry glassware, because the gift was not occasioned by death. Kathleen’s mother, to whose grandmother they had belonged, sent them along in the course of one of her downsizings. Stemware in three sizes — water, wine, and champagne coupes; the stems and feet are clear — it’s nineteenth-century American stuff. 

Although I can see why it’s not called “ruby,” I don’t know how anybody settled on “cranberry.” I suppose the name was meant to suggest a stylish homeliness worthy of Wallace Nutting. Its tint, one can’t help suspecting, was intended as a substitute for the colors of wine — which in fact it renders rather unappetizing. Even water looks wrong. But for decades, we went through the motions of treasuring the heirloom. Then we decided that it was somebody else’s turn. But none of Kathleen’s cousins, all of whom were not only younger but raised without my mother-in-law’s traditional rigor, wanted any part. So we boxed up the glasses and put them in storage. You can’t give away an heirloom. 

You can break it, though, and so, instead of having twelve of everything, we have four waters, six wines, and seven champagnes. Suffice it to say that the cranberry glasses were not meant for the dishwasher. It’s not that they’re delicate; they just don’t quite fit anywhere.

Now that we are done with storage, the box has been unpacked and the glasses washed. I made space for them on a cabinet shelf that used to hold miscellaneous glassware, including my largish collection of shot glasses. Marie Kondo, I feel sure, would advise treating the cranberry glasses just like the other items currently on the dining table — wrapping them back up in newspaper and sending them to charity. But it seems more honorable to go on breaking them.

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