Of egg-cups and silver teaspoons,


During a discussion this morning around the table at the famous Bradman’s cricket café called ‘Stumps’ the subject of  life’s final journey came to the fore again. With ageing it seems that the subject of embracing death go hand in hand with the popularity of funerals. It’s time for many of us to consolidate those facts. Nothing gets the talk going more than to delve in what is yet to come. Many of us talk about the benefits of over 55 residential homes with nurses and other care facilities. The snapping of nurse’s rubber gloves entices many it seems.

It’s been almost a year since I moved into my new place. I remember being overwhelmed by so many boxes that I filled with so much that had morphed into ownership and possessions during the years. Where did it all come from?. Why did I have so many spoons and other metallic utensils, eleven egg-cups? Three cast iron fry pans when frying food became outdated at least 15 years ago. Do people fry their food still?  I have at least 30 or more tea towels and mountains of cushions and cushion covers. And to think that during my move I drove endlessly up and down to the Salvo’s and Father Riley donating lot of things. They knew me by first name! ‘Oh, here comes Gerard again’, I was greeted by.


So, despite all the donations and giving milk-crates and boxes away to charity, my house still is filled with things that I don’t really use or want to impose onto others when the time comes. I believe the norm is (after the final Coffee) that the Salvos turn up and take it all. I have hand crocheted or hand-laced table cloths and even a bedspread that was laced by Helvi’s mother. A work of art, but it was never used. Do people still use serviette rings or the before mentioned egg-cups? I give my boiled egg the freedom to roll around my plate. I have paper serviettes and eat mainly using my fingers now. I know my father brought us up to slice  bananas and tomatoes with knife and fork. You failed there dad! 

Here something light-hearted but more serious.


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28 Responses to “Of egg-cups and silver teaspoons,”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    We have way too much stuff. Time to share around.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alien Resort Says:

    I went to Walmart for an egg cup. One of the clerks knew what it was, and the other one didn’t. They didn’t stock them so I ordered one from Walmart.com.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Will Says:

    Ik herken je verhaal Gerard. Wij hebben een appsrtement gekocht en gaan dus heel veel kleiner wonen. Wezijn nu ons huis aan het opruimen. Wat hebben we ee hoop spullen verzameld in 50 jaar!!!! Er .moet heel veel weggeven worden

    (Google translate )I recognize your story, Gerard. We have bought an apprtement and are therefore going to live much smaller. We’re cleaning up our house now. What have we collected a lot of stuff in 50 years!!!! There.a lot of it has to be given away.‎


    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, ‘stuff’ enters in stealth without us being aware of it. I thought I had tidied up a lot last time but the garage is still cluttered. The wardrobes have towels, bedsheets that never see the light of the day.
      Good luck with your move Will and Joke. It can be quite stressful. A glass of wine helps a lot, I found.


  4. auntyuta Says:

    Gerard, you say: “. . . I have hand crocheted or hand-laced table cloths and even a bedspread that was laced by Helvi’s mother. A work of art, but it was never used. . .”
    Never used? Even though, shouldn’t something like this stay within the family?
    You eat mainly using your fingers now? Yesterday I went with Caroline for lunch over to the Bowling Club. We ordered Prawn Cutlets and Vegetables. The dish was absolutely delicious. I took the Cutlets in my hand, one after another of course, and dipped them in some mayonnaise. A bit of juice from the lemon slice I prinkled over the assortment of freshly cooked vegetables. The vegetables were lovely crisp and definitely freshly cooked. The vegies too I could eat out of my hand! They were beautifully sliced and just lovely! A adequately chilled white wine completed the meal. I also had a huge glass of water. The left over slice of lemon I added to the chilled water. So, this too made a perfect drink! Caroline did choose the same meal and was also very happy with it. 🙂
    The cutlery, that was provided, I did not use at all, not at all. Instead I just used a paper serviette to wipe my hands with! 🙂
    Oh yes, this is serious business to feel good without getting a headache! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Uta, but the value Helvi and I placed on those given family items don’t necessarily transport easily to siblings or family because our remembered sentiment just doesn’t talk in the same way to others. Chances are those lovely items will again rest in wardrobes and not get used.

      While when donating those things they will most likely end up in second hand shops or Salvation army and picked up by others because they like them. If others get use and enjoyment out of them, so much the better.

      Yes, fingers are the most natural and easy to use utensils for eating food. Often meals are eaten and the cutlery is still in its sleeve. It seems you had a great meal at the bowling club, Uta.

      Yesterday I was invited to the local RSL (Returned soldiers club) for a funeral of an old bowling buddy who passed away in Melbourne. I was pleasantry surprised to get a nice lunch while watching the funeral ‘life streamed on a giant screen’ all the way from Melbourne. I suppose funerals will feature more often now than weddings. It doesn’t matter because both events often provide nice food and friendships.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    It’s nice to down-size the years-of-gathered-stuff and share it with those who can use it. 🙂
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Robert Parker Says:

    If an object has value as a real memento, then that’s its value, and reason to keep it. Otherwise, off to the thrift shop, and someone will get some use out of it, and a few bucks do to support the Salvation Army. My great-uncle is preparing to leave his house in the forest, for an “independent living” apartment, and wants to find a home for all sorts of odd, uncomfortable old furniture. I looked up the word for the crocheted things, on the backs of chairs, “antimacassar.” I don’t think anyone has used Maccasar oil on their hair since the Spanish-American War, but I know my granddad used Brylcreem, so they carried on with this, and there’s still Victorian frilly stuff on the backs of all the old settees, etc. It’ll all have to be tossed in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Therese Trouserzoff Says:

      Send over the antimacassars, Robert. My lovely partner has a thing about my apparently greasy hair soiling her sacred wing chairs! And it’s been 60 years since last I used Brylcreme – proving that hair oils have an extraordinary half life.

      Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      True, mementos are worth keeping but only if they are small and able to fit in a pocket. But what to do with table cloths and queen size bedspreads. I suppose I could take them out and keep them in my lap and think of the hands that made those and then put them back in the wardrobe.
      I always used Brylcreem copiously to look like Cookie in ‘Happy Days’. Or was it ‘Seventy Seven sunset strip?


  7. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Gez, we still use egg cups. Napkin rings, we have them too – but no actual napkins. I also have egg rings coated with Teflon- for corralling frying eggs.

    But I think you’re right. We accumulate stuff like vacuum cleaners accumulate dust. We baby boomers have lived through an extraordinarily long period of prosperity in Australia and … consume is what we’ve done. We were encouraged by parents who lived through the deprivations of the Great Depression and the Second World War; they gave us so much that they themselves never had.

    And we naturally assumed that this white cargo cult life was the natural order. I passed that on to my own kids, who (thank goodness) have tempered it with a keen awareness of the consequences for our long-suffering planet.

    The reality for me about how we accumulate stuff was brought home when I had to clean out my Dad’s garage. His accumulated stuff spoke not of profligate over consumption but of parsimony – do it yourself gear for plumbing, electrical repairs and tools for repairing things and servicing your own car. And a small mountain of off-cuts and things that “you’ll never know when that’ll come in handy”.

    I still follow Dad’s behaviour and it drives FM crazy. “Look mate, when a new toaster and electric jug cost $20 each, why would you waste an hour of the limited time you’ve got left to repair it?”

    “Well, as it turns out, I might not have anything better to do than save the planet.” And it’s one of those little joys that morph into a retirement village and nursing home deprivation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Teflon coated egg rings? We never reached that level of opulence where we could afford those, Therese. We never had eggs.
      It’s only after we came to Australia we met eggs.

      The gene of frugality is well embedded in the Oosterman clan. I sometimes use the same teabag twice. But with guests I use two used teabags for EACH cup!

      I do try and repair things if possible but remember taking the toaster to get repaired after I got a nasty shock taking the toast out. Electric jugs had elements you could replace but that’s all gone.

      Have you noticed that the S M H has double page advertisements on matrasses. Are we all supposed to now go out and buy a new one?
      I do save the elastic bands that come with the bunches of broccolini. you are right; you never know when they might come in handy.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. algernon1 Says:

    Mrs A and I are starting to go through our stuff either recycling or throwing out in preparation to a move at some unspecified date in the future. It’s probably 4-5 years. I’m amazed at some of the stuff we’ve kept. Under the house I’ve found baby stuff! Goodness knows why we’ve kept it as the kids are now in their mid to late 20’s and two don’t even live with us.

    As we clean up I wonder why on earth we’ve kept some of it. I also wonder why we bought some stuff, used once and never used again. We bought satin sheets in the late 80’s in Hong Kong. Got them home put them on the bed once and realised that they are way too hot to sleep in and a Sydney winter would be far too warm to use them. They still sit in the linen press.

    As for egg cups, we have two which Mrs A uses. one of them a banana’s in pyjamas one the kids had when they were little.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      When we moved into a new house many years ago I found a suitcase of sausages that the previous owner had thrown under the house. People do weird things, Algy.

      Even after throwing away lots of photographs I still have numerous albums of the past of which most of the photos are repetitive and boring. At some stage we lifted the best of photographs and stored them in a box. I might resume that and take out the best of the remaining albums.

      And then there are still loads of books. They too could find new homes and I do drop them off at collection centers.

      I do hope that any food left in the fridge doesn’t end up in a suitcase under the house. That’s taking travel to an absurd level.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. shoreacres Says:

    You know, my friends and I are discovering that items we’ve cherished simply aren’t appealing to younger generations. Even the consignment shops won’t take china or crystal now; they say they simply can’t move it. If it can’t go in the dishwasher, it doesn’t sell.

    I had one of those crocheted bed covers that was really something. It had been done in very fine thread, which meant that it was heavy. As I recall, it might have weighed fifteen pounds, give or take. I finally gave it to a friend, because I couldn’t use it — having fancy crocheted bed covers at the same time as a cat with claws just doesn’t work. I liked it for the history as much as anything. It had belonged to a woman who bought it from an innkeeper in Paris; it had been on her bed when she stayed at the inn. Eventually, she put it on ebay when she was downsizing, and since no one wanted such a thing, I got it for almost nothing. When I remember it, I wish I had it again, but I don’t often think of it!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that’s right. People go tp Ikea and consume as possessed. Throw away everything now. It all ends up so quickly on the ‘nature strip’ to be made into landfill.

      I will give the table cloths to the Salvation army together with many other doilies and crocheted stuff.

      What about all my etchings? I have so many of them, stacked up on one of the shelves in my bedroom next to my shirts.

      We shall see. My life has taken a new turn now with dear Annette. A future still to be enjoyed. What a surprise!

      Liked by 1 person

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