Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Memories and Objects

If objects could speak, this worn out sugar canister would have a lifetime of colorful stories to tell. Worn out from daily use, it sat on my grandparents' table for as long as I can remember. In easy reach of a sugar cube for morning coffee and a daily afternoon cup of tea. I used to steal sugar cubes from it when I was too young to drink tea, the coveted prize dissolving on my tongue while I pretended there was nothing in my mouth. I felt like an adult when I was old enough to actually use the sugar for tea.  My grandmother had a unique way of adding the cubes to her tea. She would put the sugar cube in her mouth, and kept it nestled in her cheek as she sipped. I always tried to copy her, but would end up chomping the cube after a few seconds.The canister now sits in my house as a bittersweet reminder of warm memories.

My grandmother passed away just 6 months after my grandfather. I try to focus on the romantic aspect of this, and the fact that both grandparents lived to an advanced age and were able to meet great-grandchildren. My grandmother was one of the funniest, most optimistic of people. She was a strong woman. Surviving through the Holocaust, she came to the United States with a toddler and learned a second language while working to help support her family. She was a loving wife, a devoted mother, and caring grandmother. Family was above all things. She had a light-hearted spirit and brought humor to all situations. I have memories of dancing in her kitchen so tiny, two people could barely fit. Singing Yiddish songs while soup bubbled and chicken roasted. We'd listen to her beloved stories while eating burned potato pancakes and the over-cooked chicken that she managed to elevate to gourmet food in spirit. It tasted delicious to me.

I am drinking my tea with a cube of sugar in my mouth, with the sweetness of memories.


  1. I really appreciated this post, Sara. What a lovely memory surrounding something as simple as a cube of sugar :)

    I had many tea parties with my grandmother, but we never had sugar cubes. Instead I would dump spoonfuls of sugar into my small white tea cup, and my grandmother would always ask, "Would you like a spot of tea with your sugar, miss?"

    The only time I ever had sugar cubes was at "the first girl scout meeting of the season" when I was 8. Girls and their mothers met at the troop leader's house, and she had tea and sugar cubes set out for the moms. Only, we lived in the north where no one really drinks sweet tea. I and my fellow girl scouts would sneak up to the silver dish filled with cubes, steal a handful, and pop them in our mouths as the mothers chatted about whatever mothers chat about.

    - Jackie

  2. Thank you for the comment. I'm glad you also have such fond memories.