My mother's Goebel champagne glass and Grandma Mattea's cordial glass
Crystal is one of those things that, I think, you either love or hate. There is some work in its upkeep as it must be kept sparkling, and it needs to be cleaned in a specific way. Polished to a haze free shine it is one of those things that can add an elegant finishing touch to your home.
My first recollection of seeing crystal was at my Great-Aunt Elizabeth’s house when I was very young. Elizabeth was my father’s godmother. She was very kind to everyone, and I have fleeting yet clear impressions of her. She had a bow front mahogany china cabinet that was filled with her fancy things. When we went to visit I could stand quite a long time and look at each item through the glass. Even as a young child, less than 5 years old, and I hoped one day to have pretty things like Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth died of emphysema, she was a heavy smoker, the “discussions” over her possessions were not pleasant. She had no children, and the more extensive will that my father knew she had written was missing. My mother received a phone call from my dad’s sister Betty asking if she would like something from Elizabeth’s china closet. My mother asked her to pick something out, and the vase she chose, pictured below, was one I had always loved. Thank you Aunt Betty!
When my mother passed away I inherited the vase. I also inherited her champagne glasses. I left a tag on one of them. They are very delicate, and the cuts are beautiful. They were shipped here from Germany when my father was stationed there after WWII. The cordial glass belonged to my Grandmother. She didn’t have a lot, and I recall seeing this glass in her glass fronted kitchen cabinets.
After several years of marriage my mother-in-law started me on a wine glass collection. Piece by piece, Christmas and birthdays she and my father-in-law added to the wine and other glasses. Instead of leaving this beautiful cut crystal in a closet for special occasions, we drink our wine from them nightly.
Here is a small lifestyle suggestion for 2011: Use your beautiful things. Savor how the color of a good bottle of wine is enhanced by a fine glass. Enjoy your possessions! Don’t leave them in a dark and dusty closet. Let them enhance your daily experience. You’re worth it!
Great Aunt Elizabeth Martiensen.
Great Aunt Elizabeth's vase.
P.S. Always wash crystal in cool water without harsh chemicals. No scrubbing. Wash large pieces in a deep sink and wear rubber gloves so they don’t slip when you’re hands are wet. Dry with a lint free cloth, every single individual cut must be dried, and polish to a high shine. Display and enjoy your treasure!