When my mom was a newlywed, she worked the election polls. I never really asked her what she did there, probably sign voters in, etc. As a result, she got paid in…glasswear! She was given a set of fragile-looking long- and short-stemmed etched glasses, and she was very proud of them. She’d pull them out for special occasions, like Christmas Eve and Easter, or for occasions (babies, engagements) which required a celebratory toast. My mom’s parents hailed from Poland, so our toast was Nosdrovia. (Actually, it’s really spelled na zdrowie, which means Cheers! Bless you!)
I grew up thinking of that set of crystalware as the election glasses. Which I now own, since my mom’s been gone awhile.
I didn’t hail from money. In fact, my parents were a generation older than my friends’ parents and both of them had lived through the Depression. They knew how to stretch a dollar. My mom’s good china and silver were in sets of eight, not twelve. That may be why I’m a dish fanatic, always searching antique stores for more place settings to complete the set…
For years I kept an eye out for more of these glasses.Maybe I thought that if I had some extras, I wouldn’t feel these were so fragile, and I would use them more often. Not very logical, but ways to feel close to a parent that’s long gone are never rational, are they?
A few weeks ago, while visiting another part of the country, I went for a walk near where we were staying and happened on an antique store. I cruised through the dishes sections as I always do and suddenly, there they were. Five short little election glasses, twinkling at me like a hello. Maybe from the 1940’s, the owner thought. $35 for five.
Of course I bought them They’re a little different–bigger, less fragile looking–they might even be called stemmed dessert glasses or something like that. But they are darned close to my mom’s.
I carefully washed them and compared them to my mother’s. Then I poured some wine that was leftover from the night before’s Bachelor-watching party and gave my own little toast. Na zdrowie, Mom.