Monday, December 5, 2011

Candlesticks and Heirloom Tupperware

Since posting photos of our apartment, I've had a lot of comments and emails about the cluster of brass candlesticks on our dining room table.  This collection of eight used to be a collection of sixteen or more.  We donated the less-favored or less emotionally infused items before we left California in June for our move to Sevilla.  The remaining candlesticks are special to us for one reason or another. 


My maternal grandfather was from Warsaw, Poland.  He lived in Portsmouth, England, for some years before making his way to New York where he had a produce store; he sold  fruits and vegetables from a pushcart during the "Great Depression," and eventually owned his own large store again until he retired in the late 1950s.  He gave my mother the pair of tall candlesticks some time during the 1960s.  The style is described as Petticoat.  They were apparently made in Warsaw around or before 1890.

For years, whenever Jerry and I would visit my mother, she would try to get us to clear some of the tons of stuff out of her apartment.  She loves to collect (you name it... mortars and pestles, stone hearts, cut glass, sculpture), loves to create (paint, sculpt, knit, crochet, needlepoint), and has a hard time parting with anything (such as a burlap bag from souvenir popcorn because she "might be able to use it for a project"). 

At the end of every one of our visits, my mother would say, "Isn't there anything you want to take with you?"  Sometimes, I would take things just to get them out of her house.  I'd then get them home and would donate them to charity (or toss them — as in the case of the discolored, disintegrating, disgusting, and un-burpable Tupperware from the 1950s).  But, my grandfather's candlesticks!  Each time my mother asked if I wanted anything, I would say, "Well, the candlesticks would be nice."  She would always tell me, "Not yet."  But then, during one visit she said, "I want you to take the candlesticks.  I want to know you're enjoying them while I'm still around."  We've been enjoying them for more than 15 years.


The pair of large triple-dolphin candlesticks are contemporary.  We found them in 1993 at a store called "Tchotchkes" in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego, California.


My mother and one of her sisters used to visit us together every year beginning when we lived in San Diego in the '90s.  My Uncle Harry was a collector and re-seller of anything that interested him (or could turn a profit).  When he died, he left behind lots of unusual treasures.  My aunt had the simple, geometric antique candlesticks and the small dolphins and thought they'd go well with our other candlesticks, so she brought them with her to San Diego one year.

We are off to New York in the morning for a quick visit with my mother and brother. I don't expect to come home with more candlesticks.  But I won't be surprised to find some very old Tupperware slipped into my suitcase.


  1. Beautiful candlesticks - and lovely to hear the story of them!

    Have a safe journey, and a wonderful time while you are away.

  2. Elaine:
    Thanks so much. We leave the house at 6:30 a.m. I haven't seen 6:30 a.m. in months! I hope to have the chance to post often from NYC.

  3. Beware of Tom Stevenson and his candlestick fetish Mitch. You get him on here and you'll never get rid of him LOL.

    Love the colourful glass bits on the metal...

  4. Every item has its story.
    Have a good journey and a good time in NY. You never know what you can use in Sevilla, and that's spare in your Mum's home... ;)

  5. I'll take the candlesticks--they're gorgeous--but the Tupperware can stay home!!

  6. Don't talk to me about collecting stuff and hoarding partner collects lots of things, among them salt and pepper shakers which are now beginning to make their appearance out of my
    But he is a sweetheart and not a mean bone in his body. So what if we keep our BMW in the driveway when we have a 2-car garage filled with $2.00 junk.
    the candlesticks are nice...if you should ever want to part with the dolphins let me know.

  7. Chris:
    Too bad I didn't know about Tom Stevenson and his candlestick fetish in April and May, when I gave away all those candlesticks... But maybe I don't want to know.

    I also love the bobeches and I'm glad I bought a lot of them (we've got wall sconces, too). I was never able to find them again.

  8. Peter:
    But of the things I wouldn't mind bringing back from my mother's, none will fit in a suitcase!

  9. Bob:
    Oh, but with age, the clear Tupperware turns such a lovely shade of yellow/brown.

  10. Raulito:
    That's the way we used to live. We've been down-sizing for about 4 years and, amazingly, I don't miss any of it. But, I haven't lost the collecting bug. I love our new ceramic art so much, I want to go back and buy two more!

    And I'm not sure I understand, do people usually keep cars in their garages?

  11. If you're collecting Tupperware, stop by my house and I'll load you down.
    Have a safe trip!

  12. Such a wonderful collection of candlesticks and memories...bon voyage and enjoy the Big Apple!

  13. They are beautiful and whats even better is, they have a story.

  14. Mark:
    I have a better idea. I'll just load my mother's Tupperware into a box and send it your way. Thanks!

  15. sophie...^5:
    Thanks, Ron. We hope to.

  16. Mind of Mine:
    Got to have those stories!

  17. Thanks for posting this! They're beautiful and I agree with you that the bobeches make them even cooler! Now I want some...

    Hope your trip is safe and not a hassle and loads of fun!

  18. Walt the Fourth:
    Thanks. At airport. I'll shop my mother's apt for you.

  19. I ditto wcs's comment Mitch. Have a great time and look forward to some photos upon your return.

  20. Jim:
    Too cold to take out my camera this morning! It's been spring-like in New York... and then WE arrived. Temps have dropped more than 15 degrees Fahrenheit! Photos are planned for the coming days.

  21. Very beautiful antiques. The bobeche caught my eye. I never heard of a bobeche until one of Leon's customers accused him of breaking one. We searched every antique store on the east coast to find a match...which I think we finally did. At least tupperware doesn't break.

  22. FDeF:
    I had never known the word "bobeche" until I tried to unsuccessfully find more of these "drip catchers." We've had plenty of clear glass and clear glass with gold edging, but I love the playfulness of these. (Charming customer, by the way...)

  23. Wax catchers! I have never seen or heard of such a thing before. I really like the look of them.

    As for tupperware - I've been decluttering lately and I've just donated a huge bag of plasticware to the local charity shops. (I don't know that they were all that pleased to get them.) Now I'm on the lookout for elegant glass jars to use instead. So much more attractive.

    Enjoy New York!

  24. Judith:
    Bobeches really do change the look of the candlesticks (as you can see). Our other bobeches (stashed in a drawer) are much more formal.

    I love the idea of the glass jars. My mother still has Tupperware (although I did manage to toss the really awful stuff), but her favorite storage containers are plastic margarine tubs and the like!


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