It was kept under the kitchen sink.
The sink that had been lowered to a height that would make it easier for Grandma to wash up. It made everyone else feel like a giant as they bent over the deep basin that held an ice-cream bucket so no water was wasted to wash a couple of coffee cups.
I sat on the lino kitchen floor, under the casement window that opened out to the sweeping branches of the enormous jacaranda in the backyard. I was hidden away in a little nook. Behind the long kitchen counter with the open shelves that held pots and pans and the stockpile of clear plastic wrapping from around the home-delivered newspapers. The counter stood opposite the oven alcove which had a wall mounted tin opener. The collection of gravy boats in different designs and patterns sat upon the mantle above the tiled space that housed the side-by-side oven and gas cook top. And the old silver kettle that whistled when the water was boiling, lived on it.
Five year old me opened the little wooden door under the sink. The door on the right. It smelt like raw, dusty timber. Slightly damp from 60 years of household duties. On the bottom shelf, which was the uncovered floor boards, was where the washing liquids and a stack of empty margarine containers lived. On the shelf above were the bits and pieces, the little bud vases, an empty jar, the odd little cups.
It was a petite china demitasse cup. White with pink roses on it and a gold rim, it was my cup. I would get it out of the cupboard every time I visited Grandma and Grandad. I would drink from it while we sat at the round laminex kitchen table, spinning on the brown vinyl swivel chairs as we would chat. Eating ham, cheese & tomato toasted sandwiches on multi grain bread, the smell of strong black instant International Roast coffee lingering in the air.
It was actually my mother’s cup. The remaining piece of what was her tea set as a little girl. There was once a cup, saucer and sugar bowl, she had told me. And the little rose ‘tea’ cup, that I had claimed, was now all that remained. So while I have forever thought of it as My Cup, I guess, it is really Her Cup. Which is why it now lives in my her china cabinet. Tiny rose buds amongst all the complete and incomplete tea sets, dinner sets, serving sets of different designs and patterns. Her collection of assorted china testament to her belief that tea tastes better in a good cup. The variety of the left-over pieces, speaking for her love of blue and white, family history, celebrations and milestones. Of memories. Of stories told over every cup.
So when I saw this in Shop 16 the other day, I bought as I couldn’t help but think of her. The finest of fine little blue & white demitasse cup.
Let’s call it Our Cup.