Even before the crash I knew the vase was a gonner…I had caught it with my sleeve and nothing ceramic that hits a tile floor has a chance of survival. As I picked up the shards, I was picking up my history.
I saw the vase in the small, multi-framed window of Weston’s Greenhouse in Reading. We went to the weathered shingled florist’s building whenever we bought flowers for the family grave, as gifts or plants for the house.
I loved its egg shape with the ragged, guilt-edge, and the design that was atypical for New England in the 1950s. I wanted to give it to my mother.
To pay for it I saved up my milk money, which was not a sacrifice. Milk was delivered to the school each morning in eight-ounce glass bottles. A small paper lid with a lip sealed in the milk. Now before anyone thinks, what a sacrifice, I should say despite putting ice on the milk bottles in the hall between the first and second grade classrooms didn't keep it cold or even cool. By the time we had to drink the milk it was warm and even more repulsive than if it were cold. If I had either a chocolate swirl cookie or wafer rectangle cookie, I could choke down some of the milk. In saving my milk money, I never went without the cookies.
My mother loved the vase and saved it even when we had our troublesome moments. After she died I reclaimed it and took it first to Switzerland then to Argelés where it rested in a place of honour. Each morning it was one of the first things I saw.
I swept up the vase and was about to throw it out. Instead I put it in a bag. Maybe someday I will be able to find someone to restore it. Or maybe Joseph and Rosella could recreate, which might not be the same. Maybe not but I am not ready to part with it.