Monday, January 5, 2009

Living Memories: A Sip in Time

My nephew Grayson celebrated his first birthday a few days ago, and it sounds like it was quite the affair, packed with family and friends, all vying for time with the birthday boy. I saw him just a few days before he turned “1” and he had just started taking sips out of a training cup. With a little help, he even accomplished a big gulp of his daddy’s lemonade right out of the glass. He wrinkled his nose at the coolness and the tartness of the liquid, but that didn’t keep him from going for another round, followed by the same reaction.

Watching Grayson made me think of the training cup I used as a baby – one that I don’t exactly remember, but know that it exists because my mom gave it to me a few years back. There’s no mistaking that it’s mine; my name is printed in faded black Magic Marker on the bottom, and there are gnaw marks around the rim and the handle. Anyone who has worked with me, or my dad, for that matter, has witnessed the trail of chewed up pens and pencils left in our paths. It’s an unconscious concentration aid, one that destroys a plastic Bic in a matter of minutes and leaves erasers on the ends of pencils virtually useless.

I’m quite sure that I myself peeled off part of the plastic mug’s decal depicting a dog driving a sports car, but it’s hard to imagine ever being so young. Childhood memories that seem like only yesterday creep up out of nowhere, reminding us how quickly time slips by.

You’ve got a long, healthy life in front of you, Grayson! Happy First Birthday!

In May 2009, Clarkson Potter will publish my book, The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details. Pre-order now on and

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