A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Merry Christmas, Hattie Marie

Last week when I went to the Dollar Store I found it in disarray as they were putting Christmas items out. Boxes stacked in the aisles, shelves half empty. Ornaments of every kind; shiny glass balls, wooden snowmen, knit stockings. Gift sets of bath products, colognes, nail clippers, hot chocolate, and snack foods. Toy sets of tiny farm animals, glitter crafts, and tiny fake weapons of mass destruction.

I was instantly transported 40 years into the past. I had to look around to make sure Grandma Hattie wasn't standing by my side. My dad's mom loved Christmas. Almost up until she died she had Christmas presents for all her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As she got older and had little money, when we asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she would say just some money so she could buy presents for the kids.

So that's what we gave her. I had two small boys and not enough money myself but I always gave her a little and so did others. She never learned to drive so we took turns taking her shopping. She loved to go to the Dollar Store where she could get the most for her money. With Larry and John by our sides we walked the aisles as she carefully picked out something to fit each person on her list, stretching her meager funds to cover everyone she loved.

For the adults there were scented lotions and soaps, colorful kitchen towels and pot holders, and after shave lotions. Tiny toy trucks and animals for the little boys and sparkly jewelry and fake makeup for the little girls and sometimes puzzles.  And of course, pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue to wrap them, and gift tags with glittery Christmas trees and Santas.

The last few years of her life she got too weak to make the trip to the Dollar store but not so frail she was yet in the nursing home. So the last year she gave gifts she took things from her many collections and wrapped them for her family. She had shelves of ceramic dogs and elephants, tea cups, inexpensive cut glass and milk glass serving dishes. That year Larry and John each got a ceramic dog and I got a milk glass pedestal bowl.

Many years, many moves, and many life upheavals later, that bowl and those dogs got separated from us. When I go to antique stores I seldom see milk glass. I guess this area of the country didn't collect a lot of that or else everyone is holding on to it. But one day I'm going to find that pedestal bowl with the scalloped "lace" cut-out edge and bring it back home. And fill it with shiny glass Christmas balls, mostly red, Grandma Hattie's favorite color.


  1. Oh my gosh... I think my sister may have one of those that was my mom's. I'll check next time in in Houston. I'm sure she'd love to pass it along.

    1. Thanks, Judith! I guess most everyone that liked dishes had some milk glass back in the day. 😊 I found a couple of pedestal bowls at a flea market / craft store out this way. They weren't the same ones my grandmother had but one of them was small, always good for a tiny cabin! I'm debating with myself about it.

    2. My smiley face came out as two squares. :P I'm thinking if I get the little bowl I can keep some of the little Christmas tree glass balls in it. Grandma Hattie kept plastic fruit in hers year round and the littlest kids always wanted to eat the grapes!