What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Great Grandma Lora

I get a lot of my Martha Stewart-ishness from my Great Grandma. While my Great Grandfather was alive, she was a school teacher and a preacher's wife. They traveled around to little one room school houses to teach and to preach. They lived in a big house and had nice things. Every day she wore a dress or suit, a jacket, matching hat, stockings with the seams, heels and matching jewelry. Oh, her jewelry was divine. She had dresser drawers stuffed full of it. One drawer all reds and blues, another drawer with pinks and greens and so on and so forth. She bought a lot of it and she made a lot of it too. My mother remembers a dresser drawer full of slips and undies in every color imaginable.

That is not what I inherited from her - her sense of fashion. Indeed, not. I am not fashion savvy in the least. What I did inherit from her was her ability to make a party FUN and festive. If it was someones birthday, she would invite the entire family over and have a big dinner and cake. First, she would decide on a color scheme. She had a huge built-in china cabinet chock full of mint green, butter yellow, pale pink and cornflower blue Fiestaware. Some of it was probably Lu-ray too. She also had a cabinet full of every color tablecloth to match. (See where I am going with this?) Sometimes it was the pink tablecloth and all pink dishes, other times she mixed it up and used all the colors of dishes at once. In the center of the table there was a lazy susan and all the food was placed there in hand painted china bowls and real silver spoons. I had three big uncles that would sit around the table and reach for the food and give that lazy susan such a spin - oh my, I would get dizzy. I was only about four at the time, but I can still remember being able to see under the lazy susan as it spun around and around while bowls went from one uncle to another. My Mama always got me some mashed potatoes and a fried chicken leg. (Thank you Mama.)

Before the cake came, out every donned their party hats. Oh, have I mentioned the party hats yet? We would go to Ben Franklin, or maybe it was Woolsworth's, I can't remember, and get sheets of colored crepe paper. Once home, we cut a large sheet of it, folded one end up end over end to make sort of an adjustable band, then bunch up the top and tie it off with ribbon. Here's a photo of sort of the same hat gleaned via Google. We didn't make the streamers on our hats, though. Too many big uncles for fru-fru hats. Back to the birthday celebration. We would eat our dinner on the pink tablecloth with the pink Fiestaware and then we would don our pink crepe paper party hats, dim the lights and Great-Grandma would bring out the cake. And, this, this is the point of this entire post. Not only would there be confetti sprinkles and a number candle, but these would be stuck in the cake too:

A wee miniature goblet to hold just a sip of wine, punch or grape juice (which is what Grandma served) for a toast to the birthday girl. Or birthday boy. Whichever the case may be. I have always remembered these little goblets, but I really almost thought that I had dreamt them up. But, last Christmas, Heidi included several 1950's magazines in my Christmas Goodie box. As I was leafing through them, I was surprise, shocked and elated to see the ad you see above. An ad for the miniature goblets. A set of 24 for $1.00 - Shipping included. (Man, those were the days!)
I have spent an inordinate amount of time the past several months searching for a set of these little goblets. I want to carry on this tradition of toasting the birthday girl, or birthday boy. I cannot find them anywhere - I have searched ebay and etsy to no avail. So, here is my plea...if anyone has ever seen anything like this, please let me know where I can find them. Or, if you ever see them while you are thrifting, please grab them for me and I will make it worth your while with a 100 lb. swap box. Okay, maybe not 100 lbs., but I would trade heavily for some!
My Great Grandma died when I was six, but I still have all these memories of her. She was a nice lady and knew how to throw a party!


  1. I like the new background!

    On your post - That's what I love about collecting dishes and glasses; the ability to be a gracious hostess. I love being able to take out special things for people and make a fuss over them. To some people it's unnecessary and clutter, but to me it's why I have a home; to entertain and celebrate the people in my life.

    I have my grandma's dishes I serve my girlfriends on for lunch or book club, my other grandma's dishes we use for Chinese food (they have Chinese figures on them) and my Christmas dishes from Thanksgiving onward. I have my formal ones for engagements and my every day ones for pizza. Birthdays get whatever fits the menu and crowd.

    My husband collects beer glasses, so he has the right one for every type of beer, and he loves to pull them out and hand his friends a different beer in the matching glass. It makes him feel like he' entertaining, too.

    It's so wonderful to have an example like that in your family. I'm feeling inspired to go to the thrift store and find some new old dishes to add to my collection!

  2. The little glasses will Definitely be on my 'search' list - WE WILL FIND THEM FOR YOU SHARA!!

    WONDERFUL blog entry 8-) !!

  3. I love your grandma! The little glasses are such a fun idea. I have one little glass one like that. Plastic seems like it will be hard to find, I will keep my eyes open though!

  4. I dont think I have ever seen those, but I will keep an eye out for them!

  5. So sweet!

    We still have a Ben Franklin store in my hometown :)

  6. When I got to the end of the story, I was anticipating seeing a vintage Monkey Cake! And was sorely disappointed - haha.

  7. I will keep an eye out for the little glasses. About how tall are they? I'm assuming that they are glass and not plastic. Are they a more rounded shape or more square? I'm thinking that I've seen some recently but I'm not exactly sure.


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