My Grandmother’s Fostoria
They were displayed in a corner cabinet made of maple–beautiful pink crystal stemware that I spied as a little girl in her apartment in Hollywood. She moved to Tinseltown when she retired after twenty years of teaching first grade in Santa Barbara. My older brother was in the last class she taught. Mrs. Jackson was what he called her at school. At home we called her Geeg.
Hollywood? I’m not really sure why she moved there. She worked at Haggerty’s, an upscale department store in Beverly Hills. She always dressed well. My mom would drive 100 miles and two hours south for us to visit, and sometimes I got to stay for a couple of days–just me and Geeg. She pushed two big overstuffed chairs together for my makeshift bed. She talked about someone named Fred with whom she went ballroom dancing, and played the music of Russ Morgan on her record player. She got out the Fostoria, to show me. I thought the glasses were the most beautiful color of pink I had ever seen. I still do.
She moved back to Santa Barbara and lived with us. She thought my dad was a saint because he remodeled the garage at our home so she could have her own space. The corner cupboard came with her, and her pink Fostoria, too. She watched soap operas on the color TV that my dad bought her–As the World Turns, The Edge of Night, Days of Our Lives–rarely missing an episode.
When I married for the first time in my mid-twenties, she presented me with her Fostoria. They were her prized possession. I’m not sure if I ever thanked her enough. I didn’t have much call to use them, but I loved looking at them. My friend Lauretta loved them, too. She told me that if I ever wanted to sell them, she would love to have them.
When I was really short of cash and needed to feed my family, I remembered Lauretta’s offer. What would Geeg have done? I thought long and hard about selling them. Family came first. I called Lauretta and offered her the glasses. She was overjoyed to receive them. I had enough money to buy groceries for a while.
A month ago, as I was driving near Lauretta’s home, I decided to knock on her door to say hello. We hadn’t seen each other for at least fifteen years and during that time her beloved husband had passed away. She welcomed me inside and we had a lovely chat catching up on the years we had missed. I showed her pictures on my phone of my son, the little boy she had known, who is now a man. She told me how proud she was of me becoming a published author.
As I was getting ready to leave, she mentioned Geeg’s Fostoria. She told me that she was returning the crystal to me. I offered to pay, but she gave me a hug and said no. She told me that she knew when I sold them to her that I was going through a rough patch, but that Geeg had given them to me, and that’s where they belonged.
Thank you, Lauretta…and thank you, Geeg.