CharlieMC (charliemc) wrote,

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The Story of Dad's Christmas Coffee Mug.

This is the story of Dad's 'Christmas mug' -- a mug that Marilyn mistressmarilyn and I gave him when we were little kids. From the time we were very small, Mom instilled a sense of giving in us, by encouraging us to give gifts to others. Until we were old enough to get an allowance, we were given some small sum, and allowed to pick out presents for various people (usually relatives) using that money.

Dad's mug was one of these presents. I don't recall the year. In fact, I wasn't sure the mug had been from us (I thought maybe) -- but Marilyn remembered it clearly. That probably explains why he was so attached to the mug.

Unfortunately, Dad was something of a 'Grinch' during various years. (sigh) But I also remember in childhood that Dad would either take Mom out shopping or just go by himself. He'd buy us things last minute, even though Mom already bought what we'd asked for and they'd planned to get -- and could actually afford. And, no, we didn't get everything we asked for -- and we didn't generally ask for all that much. Some years we were so excited to get a new Barbie (or one of the other Barbie series dolls) -- and some clothes for said dolls. We didn't begin to get the sort of expensive gifts that kids seem to get now...

One year Dad got Marilyn mistressmarilyn and me a toy frige (with plastic food) as a shared gift. It was a remarkable miniature version of the real thing for those day, and we adored it -- and played with it for many years. Dad could be really into the season and generous when he wanted to. Of course, there's a long list of years when Dad was a total pain. It's funny that I don't dwell on those times much anymore. He was quite hurtful many, many times -- and it was often about some gift we'd carefully selected and bought for him. Dad was HARD to buy for -- and could be cruel when he didn't like the choice made. The year of the toolbox Marilyn and I jointly gave him stands out as an especially painful one. (sigh) But the bad times seem to fade now -- and I can remember so many good times!

And, you know, I don't know what made Dad such a 'Jekyll & Hyde' about Christmas. He could be great fun -- and then the total opposite. (Mom certainly had her bad years, too. She hated any time that she wasn't the center of attention, but that's another story... smile...)

Anyway, yesterday I washed out Dad's Christmas coffee mug and decided I'd drink out of it. I've now had both coffee and cocoa out of the mug!

This mug was actually Dad's year-round coffee mug at one point -- and his favorite.

He had another one that was a little bit like it he'd been using, and I remember the day the handle came off and he switched to the Christmas mug. What I didn't know at the time was how Dad would turn the broken mug into a big deal later on.

One year, Dad made a point of telling Marilyn and me that if anything happened to his Christmas mug, as far as he was concerned there would be no more Christmas. We were teenagers at the time. So Marilyn and I took Dad's mug and we hid it away in the back of the cupboard.

The interesting thing is that I don't recall the fallout from doing this! Nor does Marilyn or our sister Sue. Dad moved on to many other favorite mugs after that. Sue has some, as do we -- and we gave others away to friends. Christmas was celebrated with Dad's involvement every year (including through some very tough years, like the year both Grandpa Ed and Aunt Dorothy died days before Christmas).

The mug stayed in the cupboard until Mom died. I inherited the mug when we cleaned out the house -- and I turned it into a pencil/pen holder, so I could have it out where I'd see it all the time. But when I went to look for it yesterday, I realized it was pretty much hidden from view -- so I think I'll keep drinking out of it for now.

I took some photos of the mug so I could share them. The image painted on it is pretty worn off now. There's a circle of green with a Christmas tree in the center, topped by a shiny star. You can see a wreath in a window, and a fire burning in the fireplace. There's also a rocking horse and a train set that's pretty faded now, along with the faintest trace of a doll. There's a stocking hanging from the mantle, too.

Dad's Hazel Atlas milk glass Christmas coffee mug
Here's the small version of Dad's mug.

Here are TWO examples of the Hazel Atlas mark:
Hazel Atlas mark

Hazel Atlas mark
(The mark on Dad's mug is quite small, by the way.)

Dad's Hazel Atlas milk glass Christmas coffee mug - big
Here's the big version of Dad's mug.

I found a mark on the bottom and tracked it down -- it's a vintage Hazel Atlas mug, made of milk glass. Knowing that we gave it to Dad as kids, I'd say it dates to the 1950's or early 1960's.

To me this mug seems small -- but I tend to use these almost BUCKET sized mugs to drink out of! Dad would have had a time getting one of his big fingers through the handle, I imagine. And it doesn't seem to hold much. But I guess the really large mugs are a recent thing, so Dad wouldn't have thought it was small. The milk glass is remarkably unstained and 'clean' looking. But I recall the mug used to get stained by coffee and had to be scrubbed clean (by hand), so that explains why the picture is so worn!

I couldn't find anything like it anywhere online, but I saw other Hazel Atlas mugs that we used to have. (Or mugs that were like those we had.) I'm sentimental about this mug, but also really fascinated by the history! I'm sure neither Dad or Mom even knew these were Hazel Atlas mugs.

I could pack it away to keep it safe, but I'd prefer to have it out and enjoy it. If it happens to get broken, that's okay. I promise I won't stop celebrating Christmas! (smile)

The NaBloPoMo theme for December is THANKS, so each day this month I'll try to include something I'm thankful for -- or an example of the word 'thanks.'

I'm thankful:

That I have so many wonderful memories of my life -- and so many items (like Dad's mug) that help keep those memories alive. I'm so lucky!
Tags: 2008, christmas, dad, december-2008, marilyn, mom, mom-and-dad, sister-sue

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