Silver Cups

I have had in my possession for more years than I can remember five small silver cups, all badly tarnished. They came to my attention recently when I was cleaning, so I sat down with a flashlight and a magnifying glass to examine them.

Two are identical tiny goblets, only two inches tall. On the bottom of one is a paper decal saying “Made in China”. The bowl portion at the top is plain with two slits, one on each side, suggesting that perhaps their purpose was to hold and display a business card. The stems are intricately carved with what looks like vegetation.

The third cup is not really a cup. It’s a round container an inch and a half tall with a removable top. On the bottom is written words so small I had to use the magnifying glass to read them: “Tiffany’s Makers Sterling 88670 L”.

The fourth cup is in the shape of drinking glass, known as a pint glass. It is three inches tall, just short of two and a half inches wide at the top and just over an inch and a half wide at the bottom. Below its rim is a decorated band will with miniscule pictures of dragons. Below the band, close to the middle of the cup, carved in tiny print, are the words, “SUZIE 2-11-1933”.

The fifth, the most ornate of all, is a cup with a handle, two-and-three-quarters inches tall, and two-and-a-half inches wide at both the top and the bottom. In a band below the rim are the words “MONTH JULY 8 YEAR 1935 BIRTH RECORD LBS 6 OZ 14 INCHES 19”. Below the band are carved pictures of a clock whose hands show five o’clock above a rising sun with the words “SUZANNE GLENN” on its upper rim. To the left of the clock and the sun is a stork carrying a baby in swaddling clothes. To the right is a fairy with a wand.

I remember enough about these cups to know that they were intended to celebrate the birth of me and my sister, Suzanne, who died of polio when I was four and she was a couple of years older than me. I don’t remember her birthdate, so I can’t tell which of the dates on the two different cups might have been that date.

I’ll continue to keep and treasure the five cups as mementos of a time long past. Someday my children will inherit them and catch a brief glance of a time long before theirs.

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