Hooligan Zoo

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It's just a mug.

on December 18, 2008

I know just what my Gramma would be saying to me right now. “My stoneware is meant to be used. It’s not meant to be sitting on a shelf, I made it for you to use it!”

It wasn’t even one of her best pieces. She was so talented in the ways of pottery. She made probably thousands of beautiful pieces.


I’ve always loved this jug. I begged her for years and years to let me have it. It really doesn’t suit a purpose, although if you asked Gramma, she would start on a pretty long tale about ancient times, and how they didn’t use glass or plastic, how wine is kept best in pottery… I think this jug just appealed to some of my aesthetic senses. I love the earthiness of it. I love that the stoneware plug fits just so into the mouth of the jug.

She finally let me have it when she moved to Manitoba to be closer to my aunt. It had become a bit of a running joke, one where I teased her that she’d better leave me that jug in her will. Where she teased me she was going to give it to someone else, or worse… SELL IT. It was a bitter sweet moment when she let me have it. We both knew that it may be one of the last opportunities I had to pilfer from her supply.


This cup is gorgeous. Stained in two colours, with the reindeer type image etched in the side. It has no handle, but is perfect for the kids, or for when your tea cools down enough that you can wrap both hands around it.

I love this cup for many reasons too. I love how unique it is. I love that it was Gramma’s hands that wrapped around it.

My cup was nothing too special. It was probably considered a “second”. (If any of Gramma’s work had a slight imperfection to it, she considered it a second and would pass it on to one of us. The odd thing was that we could never see any flaw that she was talking about…) It was just a dull brown. It was stained on the inside. There was a little sharp glob of stain where the top of the handle met the cup itself.

I would have a cup of tea out of that cup every day. I’d make myself the tea, and my hands would wrap perfectly around the cup. The handle was just wide enough to put my entire hand through it. I loved that she had used her hands in the same way to make it for me. That my hands fit perfectly in the place, in the grooves that she had created for me. It was like having tea with Gramma in the afternoon.

Yesterday I was taking something away from Talya, and turned too close to the counter.

gramma mug

I heard it hit the floor. I closed my eyes, willing it to be like all the other times that cup had hit the floor. But even before I opened them, I knew.


I had a sick feeling in my heart as I surveyed the damage.

It looks like it’s reparable, but the problem is that there are a lot of pieces that flaked off. I may be able to repair it, but I won’t be able to use it.

This mug has survived many years. Gramma gave it to me when I went to College. It’s been through many many moves. It’s been dropped more than it’s share of times.

I think that means that it’s time to let go. I know that Gramma is not coming back, although I do hope I’ll see her in another place. I know that I can’t repair this mug, in the same way that I could never have fixed her.

I’m not the same person that I was when she gave the mug to me. I’ve moved on from the young naieve first time on her own teen that still needed those strong ties to home.

Gramma gave me much much more than a mug. She gave me my creativity. She taught me not to have fear in trying new things. She showed me that you don’t have to follow the rules to make new things, to feel accomplished, to feel loved. She taught me so many more things, things that I can’t keep tied up in a silly old mug that she probably gave me because it was a “second” and something she wouldn’t sell.

While I have lost the mug. I have not lost her. I have not lost her teachings. I have not lost the vision in my head of who she was, of what she accomplished. I have not lost the memory of her. I have so much more from my Gramma than just a silly old mug.

It’s just a mug.


3 responses to “It's just a mug.

  1. Emma says:

    Yeah, it’s just a mug, but it would break my heart too!! I hate it when stuff like that happens. You feel like you shouldn’t be so upset, but you can’t help it…

  2. Russell says:

    Ah, Hubel. I know how upset this must make you. I broke the glass in a picture from my grandparents house. And it still hurts to look at it. I hope to replace the glass in it someday . . .
    You know that I still have one of Gramma’s mugs too. Not quite as big, or as cherished by you, but you know that you are welcome to it. I really hold the pieces that I have belonging to her very close.

  3. mommyknows says:

    What a great post!

    You’ve lost the mug, but you’ve created something new about your grandma in this post 🙂 You’ve shared her with us. Thank you.

    Merry Christmas 🙂

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