For a while now, I’ve had a personal mission to find a coffee cup in same pattern that my grandparents had: Corelle’s Butterfly Gold. I would occasionally see saucers or plates show up at the thrift stores, but never the mugs.
While I’ve never been much of a collector of such things, that pattern has a strong connotation in my memory, and brings back so many happy thoughts of times with my now deceased Nana & PawPaw. They were both teachers, and just wonderful people. I know everyone feels that way about grandparents, but it really was a true blessing to have them in my family. My Nana taught me a love of arts & crafts, of seeing potential in things for what they could become, to exercise my imagination, and devour books. My grandpa taught me to make spaghetti, to drive a car, and would never turn down a game of Scrabble.
From the time I was little until I was 14, they lived in Texas & I only saw them at Christmas & during the summer, when my parents would ship me off down there for a month or two so they could have some solitude. After that, they moved back to Missouri, close to the area where I live now, which meant I got to visit them much more frequently—particularly once I started college. (Hey, 50 minute drive to do laundry, rather than the 2 hours up to my parents’ house? Heck yeah!)
My Nana loved Christmas more than any other holiday, which is probably where I developed my affinity for it as well. We would have Thanksgiving at her house, and then, the next morning, we busted into the attic and brought down all the Christmas décor.
(Every gift got a big reaction, which is very gratifying for a 12 year old shopping on allowance money.)
Nana loved Christmas stockings, and stocking stuffers. She made us stockings one year…and eventually, the stocking stuffers wouldn’t all fit inside, so she then made one-gallon drawstring sacks of Christmas fabric that became our new “stockings”. PawPaw buried an orange and a half-dollar coin at the bottom of our stockings every year.
PawPaw loved old Westerns, and the Steelers, and Arnold Palmer. We spent a lot of time on the couch watching those together.
Sadly, they were also both heavy smokers, and my Nana developed multiple myeloma in 2000. She fought it hard for several years, and it even went into remission for a while. But in 2003, it came back with a vengeance, and you could just see she didn’t have the strength to fight anymore. We got to say our goodbyes at Thanksgiving that year, and she passed a week later.
True to Nana fashion, she had already bought each of us our Christmas present for that year, which my aunt found in the attic, unwrapped, with our names written on the bottom.
My last Christmas gift from Nana. Still sits on my bedside table to this day.
My PawPaw was lost without her, and went to join her a year later, suffering from health conditions of his own, though we all know he just couldn’t bear to be without her anymore.
So…all that said…that’s why I had a mission. To find one, just one, coffee mug. Why a mug? Because it was from one of those mugs that I had my first ever sip of coffee. And, like nearly all 14 year olds, I hated it. They drank their coffee black, with little to no sugar. Ugh.
But then I started college…and caffeine became a necessity. And so I would have coffee with Nana & PawPaw on the weekends while doing laundry…with about 4 teaspoons of sugar added in.
Now, I have coffee every morning. Thanks to the hundreds of flavored creamers out there, I never have to make the “coffee grimace” ever again. But I still think about that first sip now & then.
And today…today would be my Nana’s birthday. Which is why Fate led me to a stack of Butterfly Gold coffee cups at a thrift store on Wednesday. So for 99 cents, I get to have coffee with my Nana today. Worth every penny.