Privilege Blog

High WASP Entertaining, The Artifacts

The question is, when to bring out the artifacts? For example,

Should we put guacamole in this? Too small. Camellias? Maybe. Nuts? Too big unless someone REALLY loves Brazil nuts. But it’s yours. And it’s family. And it’s pretty. So you bring it, and its peers, out along with the grapevine glazed platters from Crate and Barrel, in a rush of embarrassment, affection and pride.

How can you tell this is a High WASP artifact? See those initials? Sure, they are mine. It’s not unusual to have a silver bowl from Tiffany & Co., right? Except those were also my grandmother’s initials. And I was named in some small part so that all the monogrammed stuff that was bound to come my way was appropriate. No kidding. My mother admits it freely. I don’t mind. I love my mom. The whole thing cracks me up.

So, anyway, guacamole anyone?

30 Responses

  1. great post! my mother has a champagne bucket that was her mother's, which she was given as a gift from the governor with the WI Republican Woman of the Year insignia on it and a personal message from him (he's a close friend of hers). Nan never used it, but MoMo uses it all the time! Nan is a crazy Southern Belle with lots of silver, all of which that MoMo pre-inherited, is used copiously instead of just hanging out in a hutch.


  2. That was a BRILLIANT move on the part of your mother! I'm in awe!!!

  3. Love sterling silver-use it whenever I have company-and have served five layer dip on a sterling silver tray. My grandmother would just die!!

  4. Some great forward thinking by your mom.

    I would love to put some "floating" flowers in it… to "soften" up the austerity of silver. But that's just me –can't be any further from a WASP, high or otherwise.

  5. Lenox:) And I agree, floating flowers are the nicest use. Five finger dip isn't bad either.

  6. I love the discreet style of monogram Miss LPC, very tasteful. Isn't this stuff the reason silver polish was invented, so we can keep using it?

    Hope your week is excellent!

  7. How cool! I love that you and your grandmother have the same monogram.

  8. Fabulous post!!! I love seeing the pictures too. Reminds me so much Paul Fussell's book…

  9. My job as a kid was polishing the silver. I loved it – it made me feel very grown up. My mom uses her silver bowls for guacamole as well!

  10. I too like to polish the stuff. Satisfying. You all do know that I had to screw my courage to the sticking point to post. I mean, it risks vulgarity. I can only justify this kind of display because you all asked me so nicely for pictures. However, I'm still shuddering a little bit.

  11. No, it's not at all unusual to have a Tiffany bowl monogrammed with your initials. In fact, I have several. ;)

    Gorgeous bowl. I have some things of my grandmother's that I adore, but nothing quite that special. I would definitely put some guacamole in it, though.

  12. SO…my maiden name is Calio…my first name Laura…and married name Phelps…LCP…I think I know where you can send your stuff if you ever want to get rid of a few silver bowls.

    And I love guacamole, thanks for asking.

  13. I love to put out items like this when entertaining. We were given a couple of Tiffany bowls as wedding gifts – gorgeous. I really like the placement of the initials. It would be lovely holding flowers or citrus fruit for a warm evening soiree. During the holidays, you could fill it with shiny baubles (I do that with some antique ornaments – makes a great centerpiece).

  14. Oh that is lovely! Use it whenever you can.

    My grandmother had her Nice Tablecloth that she never used because it was Too Nice for Everyday and when she finally went to use it, it had been eaten by mice.

    My husband grumbles when I pull out the silver and the crystal, but if we're having people over, why not use the nice stuff?

  15. LCP should I ever clear my closets I will send stuff your way. Using it is clearly the only way to go. I will send it with guacamole AND caviar, how about? Then you can fill it with flowers and ornaments. I too have done ornaments, but usually in my very very very large Swedish glass bowlish thing.

  16. That's a beautiful piece, and so special.

    I have several silver serving pieces that belonged to my grandmother, and some handed down even from my great-grandmother. Olive spoon, anyone? I love pulling these out and using them for Thanksgiving and other family dinners.

    Other inherited items: a crystal compote from the 1700's (supposedly) that holds fruit or potpourri on my dining room table, and some antique Blue Willow plates and serving pieces that due to probably lead in the glazes are for decoration only.

  17. Very clever,your mom. My sister named her daughters with my mom's initial for the jewelry inheritance.
    It IS kinda nice to have that bowl and have it mean twice as much.

  18. I collect these Tiffany bowls! The exact same shape! I have been collecting them since I started at Taft and simply adore them. I have two sizes and plan on eventually using them at a ladies luncheon at each place setting.

  19. Mmm. Yes. My baby mug (which will hopefully be used for my wedding if it is remembered) is Tiffany's silver with three generations of names and birthdays. And then their is the baby rattle, same.

    And that is the younger artifacts. Our Kitchen table and my dresser have been in the family 100 plus years. They are not fancy, but family.

  20. My mother did the same thing—only on the way to the birth certificate, someone switched middle and first names, so HMR (grandma's) became MHR–and I lost all claims to the monogrammed silver, which was eventually distributed among all the cousins.

  21. Wow this blog reads like someone trying to write for J Peterman. News to blogger – high wasp = irrelevant, and worst of all boring.

  22. Lovely; my wedding band and scarf are from Tiffany – that's it from my impoverished WASP family!

  23. This is a nitpicky question (I have a nitpicky brain): did your mom expect you to keep your maiden name? Or did it just not matter, b/c you’d always be LPC at <3?

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