My grandmother once told me that a woman chooses her China pattern beginning with the cup. Teacups come in so many shapes. In those days, the cups were well used. Now, they mostly collect dust.
I prefer mugs. Perhaps it goes along with the age of coffee drinking overtaking tea drinking. But my mugs do not match. Each represents something meaningful to me. Starting with the blue mug in the picture.
I had decided when I was 8 years old and in Mrs. Buffa’s 3rd grade class that I wanted to be a teacher. I loved everything about school (yes, an odd child, perhaps). I wanted to be like Mrs. Buffa, be in charge of the class, call on students, write on the blackboard – I loved all of it.
Although I tried on for size many other fields, everything other than teaching went back on the rack. So after high school, I went to Glassboro State College in New Jersey, where there was a respected program in elementary education (It is now called Rowan University).
In my junior year, and after a first round of two student teaching experiences, I got a summer job in a school as the assitant teacher in a Title 1 program which would run for 8 weeks for students who needed enrichment.
All schools had a teacher’s room, and everyone who used the teachers room had a mug there for that elusive and badly needed short morning break. I went to a grocery store and bought myself a mug. The one in the picture. I think it cost $2.00.
On the last day of school, I collected my mug with other belongings teachers accumulate. The mug went with me to my student teaching in Paulsboro, New Jersey. It went with me to my first job at St. Mary’s School in Bangor, Maine. Then to Searsport Elementary School where I taught 6th grade. I had it with me summers when I taught at the University of Maine. Then at the University of South Florida, and finally at Kent State University, from where I retired. All in all, 1972-2013.
When I found my mug today, having gotten pushed to the back of a cupboard in favor of prettier and newer ones, I smiled, An old friend. I have other mugs, and they tell stories, too. But this one is the oldest. I might write about the others sometime.
w.c. kasten, all rights reserved.