When I was a babe, I ate my cereal from a silver porringer shaped like this one, which is, by the way, made of modern, lead-free pewter. The porringer was passed down from baby to baby, as was the baby spoon. It was given to my mother by her family, I presume, along with a lot of silver, china, crystal, porcelain figurines, fine linen tablecloths, mahogany furniture and cranberry glass. A remnant of the glories of turn-of-the-century loggers turned businessmen, in 1950s Wisconsin.
Many evenings we ate our dinner by candlelight that was reflected in all these beautiful objects. Our house always made quite an impression on my friends, who were in awe of the gracious image Mother had created. The Victorian Settee was of carved rosewood and was covered in blue velvet. Never mind that one could never sit in comfort; sitting back was painful, and one was forced to sit bolt upright to avoid sliding off it onto the floor!
The Marble Top Table had an ornately carved base with a large piece protruding downward. I recall squirming underneath the thing; when I visited my parents later I realized there were fewer than six inches clearance under the monstrosity, so I wondered if the memory was true or simply a fantasy.
I envied other children their comfortable, serviceable houses and sturdy, caring mothers. The benefits of being surrounded by beautiful objects, books of great art reproductions, classical music and jazz records was offset by Mother's unpredictability and mixed emotions towards her children.