Memorial Day

Cpl. Harry Sisserman, b. 1918. Enlisted 1942. KIA 1944/5

From Wikipedia: Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I. […] A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at National Cemeteries. […] The National Memorial Day Concert takes place on the west lawn of the United States Capitol. The concert is broadcast on PBS and NPR. Music is performed, and respect is paid to the men and women who gave their lives for their country.

From Twitter: Happy Memorial Day!

Um… “happy” memorial? Look, it’s not that I don’t want everyone, in general, to be happy. And I don’t expect anyone to spend the day in mourning. Have your cookouts, enjoy the company of your friends, do what you will. But please, don’t forget that your 3-day weekend is quite a bit more than the unofficial start of summer. Take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of the many men and women who have died while serving. Honor their families. Appreciate that you live in a country which doesn’t require mandatory service. Then fish a cold drink out of that ice-filled bucket in the back yard, crack it open, and tip your head in a silent toast.

Say “thank you.”

Look for the Union Label

Rest assured, every item for sale in the Tiddleywink shop has been researched as fully as possible before being listed. Of course, some items have no manufacturer tags, so it’s up to me to do the best I can with whatever clues I have.* Is there a WPN or RN code? What is the fabric weave? I’m not beyond doing a single-thread burn test to try to identify materials. Who is the maker stamped on the zipper? Is there a PAT PEND on the clasp? What does the cut of the dress tell me? Is there a Union label?

Union labels are very helpful, because they tell me much more than that the item in question was made in the U.S.A. The artwork used on Union labels was changed a few times over the years, and the paper trail behind those graphic changes is quite thorough. There is no doubt whatsoever as to what specific range of years an item with an intact Union label dates to.

So when a seller on eBay is asking $99.99 for a swimsuit with a modern cut, but claiming that it dates to “at least from the 1960s if not the 50s or before,” I take a look at the listing to see more. Lo and behold, there’s a photo of the Union label. The Union label that was used between 1974 and 1995. And from the looks of this swimsuit, I’d put it closer to ’95 than ’74. Okay, it’s entirely possible that this seller doesn’t know about the different Union labels, so I send him-or-her a private message so that the listing can be updated with the correct information.

It’s been a couple of months, and the seller never responded to my message. In fact, the listing is still active, still with the exact same wording. Well, I’m no longer being polite about it. This vendor is consciously misleading potential buyers, and I’m outing them for it. Go ahead and visit the actual listing if you like, here, or contact the seller directly here.

*I may not always get it right, but I try very hard. If you ever see a Tiddleywink listing that you know to be incorrect, please alert me. The more information I have, the better your shopping experience will be.

Mid-Century Sugar Dispenser

The above is a photo, hastily taken in my father’s kitchen, of my grandmother’s sugar dispenser. With full permission, my dad got it when my grandmother moved to her condo, and was no longer in the mental or physical condition required for entertaining. My grandmother had it for about as long as anyone can remember, and it is a bit of industrial design genius: You pick it up, with your index finger through the loop. With your thumb, you depress the black plastic plunger. From the spout on the opposite side, precisely one “portion” of sugar (I never measured, but probably a teaspoon) drops out and into your cup of steaming tea or coffee. It doesn’t leak. It doesn’t stick. It has never broken. It isn’t ugly. As you might imagine, every member of my immediate family (and a few less-immediate members) want to get their hands on this item. And we have looked for others. Oh, have we looked. The only mark on the item is a very clear “Suko” stamp on the bottom. We have searched etsy, we’ve searched eBay, we’ve searched Google. Nothing. Nothing even like it. And so I now ask you, Dear Readers, have you ever seen anything like this, perhaps in your grandmother’s kitchen? Preferably in your local hardware store, where they have a dusty old case of 24 sugar dispensers that they forgot they even had? WE WILL BUY THEM.