Silver Baby Cup

Silver baby cup
Silver baby cup

We’ve been here a long time. My father’s side is Irish, my mother’s Scandinavian. I’ve never been particularly connected to either, though my parents most certainly are.

I was born in Georgia and raised in the Pacific Northwest. I haven’t lived in the South since I was four. Even so, I remain linked to the swamps, cicadas, and manners instilled in me by my southern grandmother. My brother and I spent many summers with my grandparents, both of whom connect strongly to the region. We read Brer Rabbit stories; we went swimming in the bayou; we said “y’all” and “ma’am”. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, it was like visiting an exotic country, one to which I was intimately tied.

In no way am I a “true” southerner. I am very much a product of the Pacific Northwest and proud of it. Yet, when I think back on those summers with my brother, I feel a sense of belonging. As a child, being there felt monumental. As an adult, the memory makes me smile. 

I have a silver baby cup given to me at birth by my southern grandmother, part of a longstanding tradition. My father has one, as do all his brothers. My first and middle name are etched on the side and, stamped at the bottom, is a teddy bear wearing a bow tie. Tarnished and smooth, it sits on a shelf in my apartment. When I hold it in my hands, it reminds me of those summers and the feeling of being from somewhere. I don’t have an object that makes me feel Irish or Scandinavian, but this tiny cup most certainly makes me feel Southern.  

Place(s): American South, Pacific Northwest,

– Brendan Murphy

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