A Place To Hang My Spoon

My mother’s step mother, my step grandmother Granny Mary died October 18, 1990 in an Eight Grain Elevator Town. She died on my birthday, twenty six days after I  married  Lt. John Nicolson Hodges.  She gave all of her money to the local United Church and the Legion Auxiliary.   My Grandmother left her spoon collection to my mother. Granny Mary had collected hundreds of spoons when she travelled through out Canada and the United States to Harness Races with my Grandfather, Nealie Oliver,  who was one of the pioneers of Western Canadian harness racing.  He was  inducted into the Canadian Harness Racing Hall of fame in 1990.







A woman in the Eight Grain Elevator Town  whose husband  had shoveled sidewalks and helped drive my  Grandfather before he died , was not pleased that she and her husband were not mentioned in the will by name.  She contacted the executor of the estate and contested the will. She asked for the spoon collection. My mother gave the woman the spoon collection.

When I was in Denmark in April I bought an old silver spoon I found in a Second hand store. I didn’t have any way to display the spoon. I set in on my window ledge in the kitchen, so I could see it when I washed my dishes.

Last week I went to a Second Hand Store in Gilbertsville Pennsylvania. In the display case was a spoon collection. 88 spoons and one fork. There were two display boards, one was shaped like the outline of the United States. It was being sold by silent auction, ending on April 30th, 2012.   I could imagine the spoons on my wall. The spoons reminded me of my grandmothers spoon collection.







I went in the store every few days to see what the bid was at for the spoon collection. I didn’t want to bid too early and elevate the price. During the day when I ate by cereal with a spoon, I thought about the spoon collection in the display case. When I went to bed at night I saw the place on the wall where I wanted to hang the spoons. I wanted to win the auction.

I bid on the spoons on April 27th. When I went back on April 30th in the evening  to check on the auction, I had been outbid. I bid again. The manager told me people who are bidding will come to the store a few minutes before closing to make sure they are the last bidder.  I wrote 8:40 on my hand to remind myself  to leave home to get to the store before closing.  If I wrote a note on a piece of paper to remind myself, I might not see the paper.  I would notice my hand, as it is always with me. My daughter suggested I put the reminder in my phone, and have an alarm go off. But what if the battery died? I wanted to be the last bidder. I was taking no chances.







No one else was waiting by the silent auction to bid on the spoons when I arrived at the store. I wandered around the store pretending to look at shirts  in the men’s section. While I scanned the shirts I kept my eye on the front door of the store. I was the last bidder when the manager turned out the lights and locked the front door.  I walked to my van knowing I was the last bidder. I won.

The next day I picked up the 88 spoons and one fork and brought them home. I hung the spoons and fork on the wall beside the table with my computer on it. My youngest daughter and I took off all the spoons and one fork off of the display boards and put them back  in alphabetical order by States. There are seventeen from California, and five from Pennsylvania.  The spoons belonged to someone else. They are someone’s elses story. Now the spoons are mine, and I will make my own story.  It will be an adventure to fill in the states I am missing; Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.







I will look through thrift stores and try to find old spoons, spoons Granny Mary may have bought when she travelled through the United States when I was a little girl growing up in Canada.

I have a place to hang my spoon from Denmark now.


14 responses to “A Place To Hang My Spoon

  1. An old tradition revisited, they say what goes around comes around, I guess it’s true!!

  2. I keep thinking what is it that makes your writing so interesting. Part of it is this, the small details in the context of the larger story. In this story it is things like the exact date of Granny May’s death, mentioning the town by the number of grain elevators and all the reasons you wrote the time to leave your house to bid on the silent auction on your hand. Then your unique pictures that match the narrative. It is, also the way these things remind you of the past and drive you to the future. The pulse of your everyday life seems to brim with significance. Noticing makes life more meaningful I think.

    • Kim,
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my stories. You were able to articulate what I do in my stories better than I could have if someone had asked me what I write about.
      I read your comment a few days ago and didn’t really know how to respond. Noticing has made my life more meaningful. I want to have a life lived deeply and not just on the surface, writing has helped me to be more me.

  3. Your wall space was made for that spoon collection; I love your whole set-up there. This story was pure lovliness. I loved writekimwrite’s explanation of the way you write. The way you wove past with present and the details made me think of my own past, my own relationship with spoon collections. My grandmother’s and mother’s spoon collections that were passed down to me. There is a story for every spoon.

    • Betsy, I would love to see your spoon collections. And here the stories behind the spoons. I am glad my story reminded you about your past and your stories. Thank you for your comments.

  4. Your story had many unique ingredients – special connections for you, present and past, a little tension and excitement, desire and hope.
    Don’t you just wish those spoons could talk? I’m impressed that you were willing to take on someone else’s collection and just move on. I’m not sure I could do that – I would have felt like I should have a connection to those spoons. But this story creates the connection and cements your relationship to this collection.

    • Yes, I wish the spoons could talk. I wonder how the collection ended up in a thrift store. Did the person die? I like the idea of taking care of something precious for a stranger. Making a new story.

  5. I do beileve Nealie Oliver was my grandmothers brother 🙂

  6. Lori Keegan is that really you???? I am your mother’s 1st cousin, Berdeane Oliver, Nealie Oliver was my Dad, Your granmother (Pat) was my Aunt.
    What a small world we live in.

  7. Hi Pamela,

    I came across your blog while researching results of Canadian harness races. I’m trying to document some of the more obscure races, including the Nealie Oliver Memorial which for years was raced at Maquis Downs in Saskatoon. Do you by any chance have any lists of past winners of this race?

    Mike Hamilton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s