This weekend, I helped my mom sort through her antique butter-pat collection. She started collecting them before I was born, and has kept them through the years, hoping they will accrue in value, but mostly admiring their beauty.
We pulled them out once when I was a girl, and from the evidence we saw today, it must have been when I was about ten, in 1984. I vividly remember doing this, because I accidentally dropped one on our ceramic tile kitchen floor shortly after we had started, and it shattered. My mom was disappointed and probably angry, while I was mortified that I had broken something she valued so much. I was in tears, and ran to my room, and in the meantime, the butter-pats were re-wrapped and put away again.
Today, as we pulled out each butter pat, carefully unwrapped it and placed it on the table, she reminisced about when she had purchased them, and we both remarked on their patterns, age, and condition. Some are Spode, some are Wedgewood, some are Haviland and Limoges. I noted my favorites, and we looked at the markings, and her previous notes deciphering the codes in the imprints on the back.
We also noted the newspaper they had been wrapped in. One or two from 1984 (including the Detroit Tigers 1984 Season Schedule, the year they won the World Series), but most from 1974, in the summer before I was born. There were announcements of concerts by Eric Clapton and the Grateful Dead, advertisements for recently released movies like “The Sting” and “Blazing Saddles,” and other interesting news of the day.
It was a wonderful afternoon for remembering, and an unexpected look into the past. Who knew the material in which she wrapped those butter-pats nearly 40 years ago would be almost as interesting as the butter-pats themselves?