Sunday, October 16, 2016


Carefully I select from my collection of 13 old restaurantware coffee cups the one which suits my mood or the one I think will alter it for the better. These are the three with airbrushing. The blue and red are from Buffalo China, the goldish from Shenango. Buffalo, Syracuse, and Iroquois were three major manufacturers in upstate New York and I started with six cups from Syracuse China while living in Syracuse 30 years ago in an apartment measuring 10 feet by 12 feet, not caring because I'd shared a flat for three years and wanted my own life. At the Syracuse China (now out of business) factory outlet with its bins of seconds, cups and saucers, I selected six different cups at just a few cents each; four survive intact, and I keep one that's cracked, hoping it will heal.

None of these were among them. Over the years I have eBayed, seeking mostly to replace the one Syracuse cup with a Greek key design around its edge, broken when a table collapsed, never found, but now and then falling in love with a cup for no good reason; I did not grow up in or near a diner, nor eat at any. My passion for them must be prehistoric. They are with me every day and never leave. They do not booty call. They do not come home at 3 o'clock in the morning and lie to me about where they were.

Fine china I never had, don't have, and don't want. It doesn't suit my knockabout lifestyle or keep the coffee warm--the whole point of thick-walled, thick-lipped restaurant china. The blue cup has a matching saucer, one of two cups in my collection that does.

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