A teapot’s life [flash fiction]

Me, I’m just a teapot, but let me tell you about the life I’ve had.

When I came out of the kiln, my body was pure white, my orange flowers glowed, and the gold details sparkled. Old age and use have made my glaze a little dull. I have a small crack in my spout and the tiniest of chips in my base. No matter. I bear these scars with pride. I’ve lived a long life. I’ve been there to provide a comforting cup of tea when needed, and celebratory cuppas too.  

I was born in Tunstall, Staffordshire, England. This area is also known as The Potteries, you can imagine why. My name is Glaslyn. Or, rather, that’s the name given to my set. We all bear the same mark: a sailing ship in a yellow background with the name of our maker: W.H. Grindley & Co. Ltd. I heard the company changed hands a few times over the years, unlike me. I’ve been with the same family all my life.

I don’t remember much about the first few years of my life. I have vague recollections of sailing across the Atlantic to South America and hearing someone say we were lucky to make the crossing before “them Jerries got to us.” I remember thinking, what is a Jerry and why would they want to get at us? I hoped my crate was solid enough, just in case.

My next memory is of living in the glass cabinet at the Gath & Chaves department store on Florida Street in Buenos Aires. I loved watching all these elegant ladies walk by. Some stopped to examine us. The cups and saucers would invariably pick the ladies’ outfits to pieces afterwards and the milk jug would shush them every time.

One day, there was a big commotion. We heard sirens wailing in the street and everyone at the store started laughing and hugging and crying and laughing again. I learned a new word that day: armistice. That very day, we found a new home. The assistant manager himself came to wrap us up snugly in a beautiful parcel. His daughter was getting married and her wedding present was a beautiful china tea set from England – even if I say so myself.

Our new home was very grand: a brand-new oak and crystal china cabinet. The newlywed wife liked to have friends over for tea so she could show us off. We did her proud.

When the babies started coming, our services were required less and less often. We were there mainly for show until their chubby hands were big enough and steady enough to handle fine china. We came out only then on special occasions, like birthdays and Independence Day afternoon teas.   

It was a pleasure to watch my new family grow. Over time, three-piece suits replaced school uniforms, fashionable handbags replaced satchels. The children eventually left home to pursue their own lives. Once a week, they brought their own children for afternoon tea with Granny. They loved Granny’s baking and they wouldn’t miss it for anything. The youngest granddaughter loved helping set the table. She handled each one of us with such tenderness.

The last big gathering at the house was a somber occasion. The family got together to bid farewell to Granny. It was the last time I poured tea for all of them. Afterwards, the whole set was packed again. But that wasn’t the end. We now live with the youngest granddaughter. She just got married. She chose us as her wedding present, so she could keep Granny’s memory alive.

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