Monday, April 22, 2013

The EHHS Social Order - 1

Growing up sure took a long time, a long time ago.  Or, so it seemed.  Our own toddlers were with us, then gone in a flash.  But, we were awfully lucky to have had that time with them.  

The picture is of my c.1945 Bunnykins bowl.  Mom cherished it; I didn't recall it...I was a toddler then.  There are 2 or 3 more pieces; a cup, another bowl, and a sandwich plate.  They were packed away for decades after I outgrew them, then unpacked to see the light once again when we brought our own toddler to see Mom and Dad.  The presentation of the Bunnykins set to our next generation was an emotional moment.

We never packed them away.  After our own toddler outgrew them, we put them on display in a cabinet so we can enjoy an occasional glance at them.  They never fail to bring a smile.

The spoons are of no personal significance, just something to add context to a few fleeting thoughts.  They are old souvenir spoons, featuring travel and historical subjects that I find interesting.  These are of the San Francisco Bay area and I doubt either of them ever saw any service as spoons.  

Mom picked up a few when we traveled about during my childhood but, hers were the kind of tacky ones you used to see in roadside gift shops along the know, the biggest ball of string in the world and alligators, and stuff like that.

But, these sterling spoons are different than Mom's, much older, and much more finely crafted.  The souvenir spoon fad started about 1890 and flourished among travelers until about WWI.  Travel was by rail and ship then so, it behooved folks in those days to select their souvenirs to be light and a spoon.  In our time, some of our Dads loaded up the windows and bumpers of the family buggy with travel stickers.  We've long liked to brag about or at least mark our worldly travels. 

San Francisco was so remote then, that getting there was quite a journey.... a 5 or 6 day train trip from Chicago or, before the Panama Canal opened in 1914, 2-months by ship.  So, the people making that kind of journey then tended to be either on business or well-heeled.  The view through the Golden Gate to the open Pacific was the most common feature struck in the bowls and can be seen in both examples shown here.

The upper one is the newer of the two, dating to sometime after 1937 when the Golden Gate Bridge opened.  Much older is the lower one.  Engraved on the reverse of the bowl is an inscription marking a GAR convention...the Grand Army of the Republic; the Union Army of the 1861-65 War Between the States,  It is dated, 1903.  The bowl shows the Golden Gate view before the bridge was built.

Summing up the stuff...and how does this fit in with some thoughts about our old EHHS social order?  I'm not too sure at this point, but if you choose to stay with me in this series, you're in for a bit of a meandering journey.  The newest thing in the picture is my age, 68; the oldest is 110.  The stuff looks new...I don't.  Hmm....110-years.  That old spoon was made when my Confederate great grandfather was still living and his son, my grandfather was 17.  Wonder what they were doing in 1903?

Well, one thing I've been doing in the past couple of decades has been to have some of my coffee and rolls on newer Bunnykins china that I picked up just for the purpose.  Eccentric?  Guess so...kinda like it that way.  Dunno, maybe Br'er Rabbit

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