Ring, Rattle and Cup

Ring, Rattle and Cup
Ring, Rattle and Cup

My ancestors were early arrivals to this land, long before the United States was the United States. As a result, much of our heritage was created here or slowly evolved from traditions practiced in far away places. 
Some time ago, while rummaging around in the dust bin of my history, I opened a box that my mother had given me years ago. Inside was was a gold ring, a silver rattle with a mother of pearl handle, and a tarnished baby cup.
I called my mom to ask her about the items; she paused before answering. The ring and the rattle were gifts, from whom she did not remember. When I asked about the cup, there was no hesitation in her voice. She shared that the cup was a gift from my grandmother and that each of her children had received one.
I asked why my grandmother would have given silver baby cups to each of her four grandsons. She replied that it was “just what you did” in the South. It was a tradition, apparently, that was popular at the time. To me, the ring, rattle, and cup speak of privilege. I can’t imagine that all of the children born in 1955 were bestowed with such valuable possessions. A tradition perhaps, or just a wonderful statement of love? It was clear that even those with very little could be among the richest of them all.
I can still imagine my 19 year old mom feeding her firstborn son, wearing a gold ring, beating a silver rattle, and drinking from a silver cup. We may not have been wealthy, but I had the goods… and that was “just what you did” in the South.

Place(s): American South,

– Mike Murphy

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more