Saturday, October 26, 2013


Whenever we visited my grandmother’s house in Boston, we’d spend time in the big living room. It was just inside the front door, off the entry hall to the right – a huge room that extended the width of the house.

There were lots of windows (tall ones that extended nearly floor to ceiling), so the light was lovely; there were two leather sofas on either side of a fireplace, bookshelves and end tables, a couple of wingback chairs; oriental carpets and, to our delight, a baby grand piano we were allowed to play!
My grandfather kept his violin in here (we were not allowed to play with that); there was a music stand and a wonderful cabinet with doors that opened up; inside were ten drawers for filing sheet music.

But, best of all, was this dish, always on the low coffee table between the sofas. It was always full of stuff – little trinkets and toys and coins and subway tokens, checkers, buttons and brass screws – all kinds of things to be sorted, divided up into piles, etc.

Spending time in that living room with Nana and the dish was magical.
          “Find all the round things,” she’d suggest...or the red things, or all the things made of metal, or all the things that rolled.
Well, the dish is now in my living room, and I, too, fill it with things – odds and ends of things I find and save – and whenever I have a group of people over, there are always a few people who can’t keep the hands out of the dish; they poke and stir, lift things out, rearrange, etc.

So take a look.

Today, you should be able to find: marbles, some polished stones, a few glass stoppers, some lamp finials, two clock keys, a brass curtain ring, a door knob plate, a glass Hershey’s Kiss, a few pieces of beach glass, my late mother’s key ring, a pulley, a medallion drawer pull...

There are at least two other things in there...


  1. I love this, I can remember my Uncle's mother had a similar home and in the hallway was a silver tray where she kept a similar assortment of things. I think it is grand that you have carried the tradition forward today.

  2. It's amazing to me, Patricia, how people can't stay away from it! They sift through it, drag their fingers through all the stuff. There must be more people out there who have these collections...I hope I hear from them. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I love this story Deb. It would be perfect for the Book of Me topic on grandparents. I used to play withy Grandma's buttons.

  4. Did she have a button box? That's one topic I'd like to explore soon...both my grandmother and mother had button boxes -- HOURS of play...thanks for commenting, Pauleen!

  5. Deb,

    What a fun post!

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Just found your comment, Jana (I'm notoriously late checking back to comments...) -- and thanks for putting me into your Fab Finds! Bloggers are such supportive folks!