Several months ago, I asked my mother if I could have her set of sterling flatware. She ignored me. I asked again a few weeks later, and a few weeks after that, she and my father agreed (with strings attached). One of my mother's requests was that I come to their house and go through everything with her and my dad, so I could choose what I wanted. After some dickering, WineGuy and I agreed to go over on Father's Day. He would keep the boys occupied for a couple of hours so I could have "quality time" with my parents.
So, we went over to the East Coast and spent Father's Day with my parents. WineGuy dragged the boys hither and yon until I called to tell him I was done. He asked, "Why did it take so long for a set of flatware?" Because, there was more than flatware. Much more. Waaaay much more. My parents chose to unload their lifetime collection of sterling silver flatware and hollowware.
Here's what I originally came for:Towle "Madeira" sterling flatware, service for 12++, circa 1950. I say "++" because my mother has all kinds of esoteric additional pieces like fish forks and salt spoons and sugar shells. You name it. Here's a more detailed picture:
She also had assorted pieces from other manufacturers, pieces which my father bought or took in trade when my parents were in the retail jewelry business. There used to be an entire set of Kirk Repoussé flatware, which I declined for obvious reasons:
I didn't want to polish that intricate pattern! Or this one, Stieff Rose, either:
My parents gave me such a hard time for turning down those sets, but I just hated them. I figured I could wait until my mother was ready to let her Towle go. I'm glad I did.
I came home yesterday with two big boxes and three large shopping bags of sterling silver. There are flatware, serving pieces, bowls, candelabra, a candle snuffer, salt-and-pepper shakers, serving trays, serving caddies for casserole dishes, a crumber, a soup ladle, a small punch bowl – Mom still has the large one, a trivet, candy dishes, a gravy boat and tray, a gravy ladle, a carving set, coasters, and many other things. It will take me days to fit it into my cabinets and closets. I don't think I have enough space for it all.
My parents were melancholy about letting these things go, but they haven't used any of them in years. That didn't stop them from making nasty comments about who would be eating off "her silver," namely my in-laws. You see, my parents and my in-laws do not get along at all. They have disliked each other since the day they met 15 years ago; wedding shower and wedding preparations merely worsened the situation. Now, my in-laws regularly come to our house for holidays; my parents do not. They will not come if my in-laws are going to be here. My parents highly resent that my in-laws will eat off the antique silver; they ignore that my children and my husband will enjoy it more than anyone else. It's a shame.
Meanwhile, we're still digging out children's rooms here in The Zone. Moose took an entire box of crackers up to his room and spread them all over the floor. He poured water and handsoap on the carpet and G-d-knows-what-else. Wild Thing played with all his toys, completely ignoring the pile of clean laundry that needed to be put away. I worked on those 2 rooms today. Again. Wizard's room looks like the Chinese laundry exploded in there. The entire floor is covered with clothing. To save my sanity, I may just take his entire bundle to the local laundry and charge him for it. Looks like none of The Zone boys are going to make it to summer camp this year. Pbbbbbbbft.