Carnival Glass Bowl

Carnival glass is molded or pressed glass with a shimmering finish created by applying metallic salts while the glass is still hot.  The name came from the belief that these inexpensive Tiffany knock-offs were given as prizes at carnivals; in actuality most of the pieces were purchased.

This piece was given to me by my Aunt Sylvia.  When I was young, she seemed the most fun adult I knew, always ready to roll down a grassy hill with the kids.

Aunt Sylvia was really my mother’s cousin, one of 10 on that side of the family.  The oldest and the youngest were boys; the eight in the middle were girls, born in sets of two.  The girls were raised close and remained close, even after they had married and moved away.  In later years they started a tradition of “cousin reunions.”  They also had a traveling letter (remember those?) — when the letter came to you, you removed your last missive, read the others, wrote the new news and sent the packet on.

Aunt Sylvia was a librarian and worked with many Chinese exchange students.  Eventually she got to spend a year in China.  The job was advertised as helping setup a library but she ended up teaching English, helping graduate students with their papers.  She didn’t speak Chinese; on the trip over, it was explained to her that she’d have to change trains to get to her destination.  She had one of her stateside students write in Chinese where she was going.  She pinned that note to her coat and went off, in her words, “just like a kindergartener.”

This post is in her honor!

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