It’s always nice when traveling to find something that reminds you of a distant memory of home or a loved one. While staying at Cliffside Inn in Newport, Rhode Island it was already easy for me to feel at home while having breakfast in the large dining room with its lovely crown molding, eclectic lamps, large windows, comfortable chairs and sumptuous seating area in front of the fireplace. But there was something else by the fireplace that put me at ease and made me happy.
A long row of mismatched teacups.
My great-grandma also had a display of teacups in her house. Her little three-bedroom house located next to my grandparent’s house on a farm in Montana wasn’t quite as grand as Cliffside Inn, but it was one of my favorite places in the world. And her impressive teacup collection was one of the prominent features of her house.
Grandma had collected her teacups over decades and had a story about each of them, most of which she’d collected on her travels — many of which were to Canada. She also received some as gifts over the years as people learned of her love for tea cups.
Grandma passed away in 2005 at the age of 96. In the few years before she died, she began letting family members choose teacups and put their names on the bottom so we would get our teacup after she died. I chose the one that had a sister teacup living in Paris. When I was studying abroad in England, I flew to Paris for a week and stayed with a distant cousin, Nathalie, for a few days. While there she showed me the teacup that Grandma gave her mom as a wedding present and mentioned that Grandma had a similar one in her house, which I recognized.
When Grandma departed this world for the next, she left behind a collection of teacups full of love that now is spread out in other people’s cupboards.
It took a journey across the United States to Cliffside Inn to remind me of Grandma’s tea cup cupboard and the joy I got from examining each tea cup on the shelf while growing up, just as I subsequently enjoyed looking at the different designs and colors of the tea cups at Cliffside Inn.