A cup full of memories


Lately I’ve been noticing that all the other grown-ups (as seen on TV) have matching coffee mugs. Whether a lighthearted chat or a deeply dramatic discussion, they eat and drink from dishes that match.

Nothing says you have arrived (home version) quite like being able to serve up to four people in matching drink ware that you didn’t get free-with-purchase. My mug collection is more like snowflakes — no two are the same.


The “We are family” mug is a cheery yellow and includes a photo of my then 2-year old taken the moment he met his newborn sister. Holding that mug I am momentarily back in that moment when our family was both complete — and brand new.

One set of mugs (and by “set” I mean three) were handed down from my Gram. There were four, each with a different color hand painted tulip upon it: orange, green, yellow and blue.

As a child, I considered it a special treat to get the blue tulip. It’s clearly the “best” one — as I’ve known since I was 6.

Even older are the sturdy white Fire-King with hand painted birds. I think it hails from the 1960s.

What I know is that it hails from my great-grandmother’s cupboard, and for this reason, they are priceless.

I remember sipping hot cocoa from their dainty, diminutive depths. Apparently coffee needs were much smaller back then, these cups seem to hold no more than a thimble.

There are three mugs from our respective employers and university. We keep them as talismans of good luck and memory.


The Tinker Bell mug, large enough to swim in, is an unusual choice for me. I’m not much for cartoon characters as a whole. I wish them no harm but can scarcely face that much good cheer so early in the morning.

In Tink, I made an exception because her Pixie twinkle and blonde topknot hair are a mirror image of GirlWonder at a young age. When I sip from this mug, I see not the copyrighted and trademarked within an inch of its life cartoon mega-star but my own sweet girl.

The fact that one side of the multi-panel mug “Tink” has a petulant almost pouty countenance is no coincidence. Our girl has her moments — just like her mother.


A favorite mug comes from my bestest of friends. It features an iconic caricature of a 1950s female and the slogan, “Cooking and cleaning are for people who haven’t discovered scrapbooking yet.”

As a self-admitted photography addict who believes that it didn’t really happen if it’s not in the scrapbook, I couldn’t agree more. That it embodies the wit and wisdom of a friend so close she has known me since childhood means the world to me.


Finally, is the mug I reach for more mornings than not. It’s kind of schmaltzy, as mugs go. It’s white with pink ribbons and a soft brushed image of a fluffy kitten. This mug is so cloyingly sweet that you really don’t need sugar in your drink. Printed upon it is “Mom I look up to you.” Clearly, it matches nothing and goes with everything that is important to me.

In my heart, I can see my then very little girl carefully choosing it from the school’s Santa’s Workshop. Although I wasn’t there, (it was a surprise after all) I can imagine her carefully and lovingly wrapping it (so that it became easily six times larger than a mug would normally be. I honestly thought she was giving me a small spare tire).

I can remember her anticipation in giving it, and delight in my receiving it. I use this one when I need reminding that I’m a role-model and that four small — and increasingly larger — eyes are upon me, always.

If the house were on fire, (and in my kitchen — that happens) this mug would be in my hand on the way out the door. We may not have perfectly elegant handcrafted and matching mugs, but we have something much, much richer.

Opening my cupboard and reaching for a morning mug is like a snapshot of our lives upon the shelves. A treasure trove of memories captured one cup at a time.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt loves her mugs. She welcomes comments c/o LifeOutLoud@Comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460; www.KymberlyFosterSeabolt.com.)

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  1. Excellent article, Kymberly! We know exactly what you mean about an affinity for mugs. Our site is dedicated to the most beloved. Hope to see your “Mom, I look up to you” kitten mug soon! :)


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