I discovered as I cleaned out my parents’ house that there was a memory in every drawer and cupboard. The memories would surprise me—I had no warning of when one would strike.
One afternoon when I was alone in the house I looked through kitchen cabinets, trying to decide if there was anything I wanted to salvage. I came upon my mother’s sixty-year-old blue Pyrex dish. At least I think it is sixty years old, because I’m pretty sure she received it as a wedding present. I remember it from my earliest days. At one point, she had similar Pyrex dishes of various sizes and other colors, but this blue one was the only one that has survived. And it’s the one I remember most vividly.
Why this dish? It was the source of many bad childhood experiences.
Every Monday night my mother made glazed cooked carrots in the blue Pyrex. Cooked carrots that I detested, but that she thought made the perfect accompaniment to Monday night’s meatloaf. I don’t remember her ever making anything else in that dish, so it is associated in my mind only with glazed cooked carrots.
“How can you hate cooked carrots?” she asked me. “They’re so sweet.”
Well, I don’t know how I could. I just knew I DID hate them. With a passion. They made me gag. Every Monday night. I liked carrots raw, but despised them cooked. I hated them so much that I’ve already written about them twice on this blog (see here and here).
The rule in our family at that time—the rule was relaxed by the time my sister was around to argue with our mother over peas—was that if we didn’t eat all our dinner, we didn’t get dessert. I desperately wanted dessert to satisfy my sweet tooth, so Monday nights were a dreadful time. I sat at the table choking on one small piece of carrot at a time for an hour after everyone else had left the table. I was usually in tears, pleading with my mother to relax the rule.
Of course, she didn’t.
Of course, the carrots got worse as they got colder.
Some nights I managed to get the carrots down, other evenings I couldn’t do it and left the table.
It is smaller than I remember, my unhappy childhood associations making it loom larger in my mind than it is. But when I saw it in the cupboard, immediately I was seven again. I could taste the carrots on my tongue.
I decided not to keep that Pyrex dish. But I did take these pictures.
What old household objects have brought back memories for you?