When my grandparents married in December of 1969, it was a second marriage for both of them. They came together having already had full lives and three children a piece. They merged their lives and their belongings, two large suburban houses into a single two-bedroom apartment (the one in which I currently live). There was much negotiation about furniture and possessions, what to keep and what to hand over to family. The only area in which they merged seamlessly was in the silverware department. This is because they both had the exact same set of silverware.
It was a design, very popular in the 40’s and 50’s, called Coronation. Community created it in 1936 in order to honor the coronation of Edward VIII. Unfortunately, he ended up abdicating the throne before he ever assumed it in order to marry Wallis Simpson, so this pattern of silver never actually ended up honoring anything at all. But people loved it and seem to have bought it by the gross. (My grandmother and many of the women of her generation thought that a royal giving up the throne for love was extremely romantic and that swoony emotion may have fueled their consumption of these forks, spoons and knives).
Because I ended up with my grandparents’ apartment, and just about everything in it, I also became the proud owner of about 250 pieces of this silverware. The problem is that I don’t really like it very much. I grew up with this silver, eating with it every time we came to visit. Having seen it from a young age, my perception of it is permanently skewed. When I look at the handle, I don’t see the flowers and wreaths that everyone else sees.
I see a dog’s face.
You have to look at the fork upright, but the top two holes are the eyes, and the bottom cutout is the mouth. The flower in the middle is the snout. It’s what my baby-brain came up with and I’ve never been able to change the way my synapses interpret it. It came as quite the shock when I was about nine that that wasn’t how everyone saw it. I try to have people take a close look when they come over for dinner, but not everyone can see the puppy in the handle.
So beware accepting dinner invitations from me, you may be asked to examine your silverware for canine resemblance while eating your soup.