Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Bought Lesson

My good friend Tracy, who used to live two doors down instead of two hours away, frequently quoted her mother. Mrs. P used to say, “a bought lesson was worth more than a taught lesson”. I guess this piece of red glassware would certainly fall into the category of a “bought lesson”.

When I was about seven years old, I wanted to help my Granny do something around the house while she and Mom talked. Mom told me to go out and play, but Granny got me a dust rag to dust her tiered occasional table. I was very careful but still something happened. A nice red vase fell over and broke into many pieces. My Mom was livid with me, but Gran understood because after all I had volunteered to help her at something, anything just because I loved her. However, Mom thought I should learn a lesson and had to earn the money to pay to replace the vase.

Mom found a similar one, although not the same kind of vase, at our town’s local Rexall and Gift store. We priced the red goblet, and it was $9.00, a small fortune in the 1950’s. I had to start saving my coins and work for extra money. I made my bed, cleared the table, carried and held wooden clothespins while Mom hung the laundry outside. There were not many chores where a kid could earn a nickel when she was seven. Grandpa helped by making up errands for me like bringing him his briefcase for which he paid a dime, sometimes a quarter!

Finally, I had the money and we purchased the red goblet and took it to Granny the next visit. She displayed it proudly for years. After she died and her house had to be broken up; we were all there packing and sorting things. My dad reached over for the red goblet off the shelf and handed it to me. Then he said, “I think you should take this. You have paid for it once,” and he smiled.

Although that red glass is not a style like anything I have, I display it proudly. I am not sure what I learned out of that experience. Maybe it was to take responsibility for my actions, paying my dues for choices made, or just to avoid dusting at all costs! But the red glass goblet sits in my own hutch reminding me a “bought lesson is worth more than a taught lesson”.

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