Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My mother's coffee cup

My mother, Charlette Siemers, loved her coffee!  She even let us have coffee in our little tea cups when we were kids, much to my dad's chagrin, worried that it might ruin our health.  It was mostly milk, and of course we dunked cookies in it, but nonetheless, my love of coffee was instilled in me by my mother at a very young age.

I loved (and still love) the smell of it brewing.  Someone once remarked that he thought people liked the smell better than the taste.  Speak for yourself, sir!  I love the smell, but more than that, I love the taste.  My Swedish tea drinking first husband referred to my family as a bunch of coffee slurpers - in a totally loving way, of course.

On my counter, I have an espresso machine, a four cup (two mug) Mr. Coffee, and three - count 'em, three! - Moka Express Italian stove top coffee pots.  I got a one-cup as a gift, bought a 3-cup because that just wasn't big enough, then bought a 6-cup too, for when I have company.

Tucked in a cupboard is a one-cup French press, and in the garage a 10-cup programmable pot with a built-in coffee grinder.  Yes, you set the time and the grind, fill it up, and (if you didn't err in your settings) you wake up to fresh ground coffee brewing at 7 am.  Pretty nifty, hey?

As for coffee cups, my mom had quite a collection of them.  But some were rarely used for various reasons.  They had too small an ear/handle (Mom had big hands), they were flared and so allowed the coffee to cool too quickly, or she didn't like the decorations on them, to name a few.

One year for Mother's Day, my two sisters and I took Mom for lunch at a tea house in a neighboring town.  There was a small antique shop next to the tea house, and we went in for a browse.  Mom found a coffee cup.  First thing in its favor, it wasn't flared which meant the coffee wouldn't cool too fast, second the ear comfortably accommodated her finger, and the third thing was something I had never thought of.  Our Mom was a lefty, and she pointed out that the focal point of the decoration on the cup was meant to be seen by someone who was left handed. She was delighted! But then she saw the price - $30!  She put it down and said there was no way she was buying that cup.

One of my sisters managed to sneak it to the register and we bought it for her.  We didn't give it to her until we were safely home so that she couldn't just walk over to the cashier and take it back.  She fussed that we had spent too much, but we could tell she was delighted.

She didn't use it a lot because she was afraid of breaking it.  I have it now.  As I was putting away dishes from a dinner party I recently had, I saw it sitting there.  I wish she had used it more. What are we saving things for?  As I age, I realize I cling to things that should be used, even at risk of breaking. I am using my mother's treasured cup for my morning coffee today, and I'm using my left hand so that I see what she saw when she used this cup.

Front of cup - for lefties, that is!

Front of cup for righties - boring.  


  1. This is beautiful, Susan. You are right about all of it! Use her cup and drink lots of coffee and drink with your left hand.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I have gotten her cup out a couple more times. So delicate! But so, so beautiful.