A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Toothpaste Glass 161
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My maternal grandmother Lolita went to a boarding school for girls in Spain in the 19th century and was issued sterling silver cup No 161 to drink with her meals. I never asked her the name of the school or where in Spain her school was. I never asked her if all she drank out of it was water or how she polished it. By the mid 1950s the cup had been relegated to function as a toothpaste glass. We never ever called it a toothbrush glass. When I married Rosemary, she saw the sentimental value of cup 161 and insisted we display it with our collection of pocket watches and other family memorabilia.

For 39 years we have had a varied assortment of toothpaste glasses. In our early years in Burnaby, our daughters borrowed them for mixing watercolours and Rosemary and I might have popped Eno or Alka Seltzer to fight stomach ailments. I hated the plastic glasses and the glass ones either looked perpetually dirty or they would fall and break. I was much too lazy to vacuum the glass splinters. Once I bled over our white sheets with a cut foot. I learned my lesson. In the last year we have been practical. In a recent trip to Mexico we stayed overnight in a Seattle Travelodge and Rosemay pinched half a dozen plastic water cups which have been splendid. Or so I thought.

Rosemary's 15 year-old male cat, Toby, has always insisted in drinking his water from either the bathtub tap or the bathroom sink tap. Rosemary first tried leaving either taps running for a while. The water noise drove me nuts until I discovered that if I placed the Travelodge glass, full of water by the sink tap, Toby would climb up and happily drink from it.

Must I share my toothpaste glass with a cat? Or could it be the appropriate time to bring back my grandmother's school glass?


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