November 18 – Next in the photo up there…

If you look between those two sheep I talked about in this post, you’ll see a small cup. This is one of the many little treasures I own that I purchased on eBay. It’s a child’s graniteware (or enamelware) cup. The transfer design is a spray of flowers, although saying exactly what kind is beyond my knowledge of horticulture. Judging from the style of the art, the cup appears to be from the turn of the 20th century. It doesn’t show in the photo, but the cup has a thin enameled metal handle on the right. I like to think this cup is from a very special set of child’s dishes.

Items like this always set my imagination in motion. I want to know who the little girl was who received the dishes, what the occasion was (Christmas? birthday?). Did she also have a doll as elegant as this cup with whom she shared tea parties? What happened to the set of dishes? What happened to that little girl? Was she from the United States or did this cup travel from across the ocean? How did this lone cup manage to survive all these years and wind up on a shelf in my kitchen?

If only material things absorbed what is happening around them and we could read the vibrations with our fingers like a kind of psychic Braille. Or imagine being able to sharpen our hearing so that we could put a cup like this to our ears and hear echoes of a child playing over one hundred years ago.

Some psychics, I guess, are able to do just that, receiving information about the past from a scene or a room or an object. I wonder if some future technology will be enable us to interpret transmissions stored in material things? I’d be blown away just to see or hear a few seconds of some totally common moment from a century ago – like a child playing with a flowered enamelware cup.

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