I remember the first time I ever saw the bowl. I was seven years old, and my Mom got it out of the top cupboard. She got it down and placed it on the kitchen counter. My younger sister, who was in kindergarten at the time, had a project of growing a crystal rock garden. After a time-consuming search for all the ingredients which included a few lumps of coal and bluing (I remember how much trouble finding those two ingredients were for Mom), the project was finally about to begin. They put in the lumps of coal and then adding the bluing and other ingredients. Within hours, fluffy crystals began to grow on the coal and along the sides of dish, but I have to say, from the outset, that I was more fascinated by the bowl itself.
The bowl was pure black, opaque glass. It was diamond-shaped with spout-like corners that curved downward. It was angular, yet had graceful lines. The bottom had a star-burst-style pattern in an art deco style. To sum it up, it was the most gorgeous, elegant bowl I'd ever seen. But after the crystals flaked off, the bowl was washed, and once more was put away and placed in the top cupboard where it remained out of reach of young girls until several years later.
The next time I remember seeing it was at Christmas. Once again, the bowl was taken down, dusted off, and into the bowl went almonds, filberts, Brazil nuts, pecans, and walnuts. When Christmas was over and the nuts consumed, the bowl was returned to its place. Over the next several Christmases, I saw the bowl more often (I guess now that my sisters and I were older, it was safer to bring it out more frequently.) and we even heard the story of the bowl.
When my Dad was ten, he purchased it as a Christmas gift for his grandmother. On Christmas Eve, he paid 9 cents for the bowl and gave it to her proudly. He gave it to her because he thought she would want this beautiful bowl. When she died, he wanted only two things: this bowl and some silverware that she had promised him. He retrieved the bowl and only a few spoons, but it was the bowl that he was most happy to have. It was one of the few gifts he said he ever remembered giving.
Several years ago, he gave it to me after I told him how much I liked the bowl, and how beautiful I thought it was. Over the years I had heard the story of the bowl, but he told me again how he picked it out, how much he paid, and that it was the one thing that he really wanted from his grandmother's house.
The black glass bowl now sits on my table; it is the centerpiece for my table...now filled with shiny stones, and a "dragon's egg" I found at a home decor store. Every time I see it, it makes me smile; it reminds me of Dad and the extraordinary memories he gave me. I don't know the manufacturer of the bowl; I know nothing about it, really, except its history in the life of my Dad. And I know that it will be passed on at some point to someone in my family who will cherish it as much as my Dad, as much as me.
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association