Valentine Sentiments

Valentine Sentiments

For many years, I collected pieces of silver with monograms and messages on them. Cups, spoons, little silver boxes – the hand engraving and the messages were expressions of love and gratitude that spanned generations. I stopped collecting them years ago, because accumulating things is not so important to me anymore. I think the real value of money is in how you use it to help other people.

In the meantime, I still have this nice collection of silver cups. Reading the sentiments on them made me think that they were the perfect vehicles for a display of Valentine’s Day flowers, because they illustrate many kinds of love. There’s the “Blanche to Charles” inscription on a wide shaving cup, probably a gift from a woman to her fiancé, husband, or brother. Then there are the more formal inscriptions: “Edward H. Lytle to his Grand Niece Julia K. Macalester 1856,” obviously a doting uncle. There’s a lovely inscription wreathed in raised silver apple blossoms, “Mother to Ella, Her 10th Birthday.” You can feel the maternal love in that.

valentine's day flowers on America's Table

I especially like the multi-generational inscriptions. One cup has several messages added over time, “Bessie, from Aunt E, 1869” it says, and on the other side of the same cup, “Elizabeth from Aunt Bessie, 1899.” Elizabeth must have been a treasured family name, and Bessie the nickname, which was passed down through this family along with the silver cup. Not all the engravings are happy, though they do set the imagination running. There’s one exquisite neoclassical cup whose engraving has been scratched out so the inscription is no longer legible. Spurned lover, broken friendship, family quarrel? I’ve always wondered what the story was behind that cup. They all have stories, and I think that’s what drew me to them in the first place. I hope your story is a happy one, whether it’s preserved forever on a silver cup, or in your mind as a wonderful memory.

valentine's day flowers - Helleborus Winter Bells

Helleborus Winter Bells

valentine's day flowers Lathryus First Lady and Muscari

Lathryus First Lady and Muscari

valentine's day flowers - Ranunculus cloni blush pink

Ranunculus cloni blush pink 

valentine's day flowers - Sweet Paradise Spray Roses

Sweet Paradise Spray Roses

valentine's day flowers - Tulips Pink Van Dyck

Tulips Pink Van Dyck

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