ORANGE DAISY CINDERELLA
by Sandra Bark
When my grandmother died, my kitchenware holdings expanded to include her canary yellow soup pot, her wooden rolling pin, burnished by the years, and a nested set of orange Pyrex bowls. I use them all of the time. They are functional and pretty, and preparing food with that cookware gives me a feeling of connection, like a ribbon stretches across time and space between our kitchens.
A friend broke one of the Pyrex bowls.
She was sorry, she said. She knew how sentimental I was about those dishes.
It’s okay, I said. Accidents happen.
Obviously this wasn’t the biggest deal in the world. After all, I had already suffered the greater loss, the one that had led to my acquisition of the Pyrex: the loss of my grandmother.
Still, I felt a little bit deflated by the breaking of the dish. What began as a four-bowl set in my grandmother’s kitchen had become three by the time I inherited it. Without the golden yellow 1.5 quart bowl, there were only two. The shattered convex round of glass was a reminder of the ways that we lose things, a nod to the sad fact that as time goes on, matched sets only become less full.
A block away from my apartment, there is a little store that sells vintage housewares, and so I wandered in one afternoon to look for a substitute for my missing bowl. It would be not be the same, of course, but when you are reaching for a mixing bowl, function is as important as sentimentality, perhaps more so.
The shop’s aisles were lined with items rescued from somebody else’s grandmother’s apartment. There were silver cocktail shakers and fifties-style juice glasses, embellished with gold starbursts; there were jewelry boxes and broaches and picture frames that still had photos in them. And at the back of the shop, at a moment that merited a triumphant orchestral crescendo, there it was: a complete set of Orange Daisy Cinderella Pyrex, identical to the ones I had inherited from my grandmother.
Now my pantry holds not three bowls, not two, but six. A nod to the fact that though loss is inevitable, if we’re open to change, if we keep looking, matched sets can become full again, and even more so.