Yesterday while I was working in the studio the UPS truck drove up and delivered a package I wasn’t expecting. Inside the package was a Manhattan drink set that had belonged to my grandfather. It was sent to me by my aunt who is downsizing her house. When I realized what it was a flood of memories engulfed me.
As a child I spent every holiday in my grandfather’s house. My aunts and uncles and cousins were there too; fourteen of us in all. We would gather in the basement of the house which was one big room. There was an open area where my cousins and I would play, a big oil boiler in one corner, a couch, a small kitchen area and a huge table. With my grandfather at the head of the table the adults sat on one end. On the other end a smaller table was added on for all the children. My Aunt Martha sat with us keeping us all in line. (Thanks Tante Martha!) There was always lots of good food, great desserts and spirited conversations. On one wall in the basement was a big wooden dresser or maybe it was a buffet. I’m not sure. I only know that it had a drawer that held paper and pencils for me to use for drawings. On top of this piece of furniture is where the Manhattan set would sit, and from where my grandfather would serve his Manhattan cocktails to start the celebration. I must admit that I never acquired a taste for this cocktail, but I am very happy to have my grandfather’s Manhattan set for it holds so many wonderful memories.
My grandfather’s basement was not only where we would have family celebrations, but also where he did his stained glass work including a repair on a Tiffany window for a museum, and where he made the stained glass lamp he gave to us as a house warming gift. My grandfather’s work was my first introduction to stained glass. I think of him often when I’m working in the studio. My grandfather died before I every started working in stained glass, but I know that he would be proud that I have inherited his love for stained glass.