An Inheritance Story…

January 31st, 2011

Last year my Uncle Chuck passed away. He was an amateur gourmet cook and collected many fine cooking and serving items. He lived alone and had no children, so it was up to my mom to divvy up his small estate. Last year, shortly after his death she gave me a box full of Chuck’s copper cookware which I subsequently spent an afternoon cleaning and then put away and have never used. It probably needs to be cleaned again by now.

My mother also gave me some of Uncle Chuck’s wine goblets and a matching tall glass decanter/  snifter/spigot?  I don’t know what it is called, but when she gave me these wine goblets, I was not very excited about them. As you can see they are rather ornate and decorated in gold and purple leaves and they are about half the size of a normal wine glass and well… I am not really a gold and purple, ornate tiny wine goblet, kind of a girl. So I stored them in my hutch wondering what in the world to do with them and then one evening last Fall, I was adding some white wine to whatever it was I was cooking and I thought it would be nice to have a small glass of this wine while I cooked and so I reached up to the hutch to get a glass, and I saw Uncle Chuck’s goblets and they were the perfect size for my wine craving!  And that’s how my Uncle Chuck’s ornate, purple and gold tiny wine goblets became my favorite wine glasses ever!  Not only do they allow for a perfectly small glass of wine while one is cooking, but it is much easier to justify second, third and fourth glass of wine! Believe it or not, I even used that tall wine ‘snifter, decanter, spigot thingy’ this Christmas when I made Nigella Lawson’s filthy fizz.  At this point, I have probably used Uncle Chuck’s tiny wine goblets more than Uncle Chuck ever did!

But that’s not all!

Heavens NO!

Because my mother kept telling me that she had a few more wine glasses to give me.  At first I wasn’t very keen on getting more of those tiny purple and gold goblets, but as my perspective changed, I became very interested in having as many of those tiny goblets as I could get my hands on.

So when my mom called and told me to meet her on the highway where she would hand over my wine glasses on her way to her new home in Topeka, I obediently schlepped out to the junction of highway 99 and Interstate 70 to get my loot!  But my mom was not exactly telling the whole truth about the wine glasses because when I showed up, she began unloading box after box after box for me to take to my house.

“Mom!”  I exclaimed.  “What is all this stuff?”

“It’s your wine glasses.”  she said.

“What!  Uncle Chuck had five huge boxes of wine glasses?”  I asked.

“Oh.”  she said, “It’s not all wine glasses.  There’s some other things in there I thought you might like.”

“You mean like this hideous quilted doll?”  I asked her as I pulled out a craft item from the early 80′s.

“Now Rechelle!”  she said.  “You go through these boxes and whatever you don’t like, you can just get rid of it.”

“Why don’t you get rid of it and where are my dang wine glasses?!?” Is what I wanted to say, but I held my tongue and loaded all that crap into the back of my van while mentally shaking my fist at my mother for tricking me into throwing out the stuff that she couldn’t bear to throw out herself.

When I got home, I dragged those boxes indoors and stared at them bleakly.  Judging from the quilted doll, I was terrified at what else I might find.  The first few boxes contained all of my mom’s old chipped dishes.  Thanks mom.  Thanks for these old chipped dishes!  Love them!  Love them so much!  I sat the chipped dishes aside for the Salvation Army and opened the next box…






And that is when I started to find wine glasses.

More wine glasses than I would have ever dreamed.

Each glass in this photo has a set of six to eight glasses that match.

I eventually found over fifty wine glasses in those boxes.

Fifty Wine Glasses!

What was my Uncle Chuck doing with fifty wine glasses?

What am I going to do with fifty wine glasses???!!!???

And then I got to this box.

My Uncle Chuck’s silverware… or goldware… or gold colored silverware…

It’s real pretty, but it’s not really me.

Then again, neither were those tiny wine goblets…

Oh dear!

After unpacking all that stuff, I had to find space in my hutch to put it away.

Because it’s nice to have over fifty wine glasses handy just in case fifty wine drinkers show up at my house at the same time.

Hopefully they will bring their own wine.

So I rearranged the hutch and put the ‘goldware’ on a shelf in the living room because the box is attractive and I don’t know what else to do with it.

I think I need to throw a party and use all this stuff at the same time.

Fancy wine glasses… gold silverware…

Will I need to hire an orchestra for this party??

And can I use the doll for a centerpiece?


  • Use those beautiful wine glasses to serve desserts in. Who cares if the boys break one or two. You’ve 50!!!

  • Jennifer:

    Might the little glasses be sherry glasses? I don’t know if sherry is served in goblet-style stemware, but it’s definitely served in little doses.

  • These will be the perfect things you can put in boxes for your sons when they leave the nest. I remember when I trundled off to college, laden down with weird kitchen junk my parents wanted to get rid of.

  • Oh my, this makes me think of my 4 china collections at home. One inherited, the rest ‘gifts’. One has service for 12, another is from the late 1800s and so fragile, that I would be afraid to put so much as one buttered pea on a plate. What am I going to do with all of this? We don’t have fancy dinners; it’s usually just the 3 of us.

    Why don’t you get out your 50 wine glasses, I’ll get out my fancy china, and we’ll have a party!

  • Get your girlfriends together and have a wine tasting. I recommend at least 8-12 gals. Everyone brings one bottle of wine and their favorite hors d’oeuvre. You MUST use a fresh clean glass (i.e. not just rinsed out in the sink) for each wine.

    The only problem with this is the resulting dishes that must be done…

    • JJ:

      Oh yes a wine tasting – Have each guest bring a different wine – label hidden. Make a big batch of pasta or a platter of cheese with bread and fruit. Love wine tastings!

      • Fabulous idea!!!

  • annmarie:

    My husband’s brother is fancy and proper and I am not. He often gives us things like this and at first I always get annoyed but then when I use any of it I kind of feel all happy. Sometimes it’s nice to have stuff that is so unlike us. It makes me feel more interesting for some reason.

  • Kait:

    Oh I love your little mini wine glasses with the carafe. Very 50′s. The other glasses are same ones that were all the rage in the 80′s. My sister got scads of the same pattern for engagement parties and such. Strangely enough, most of it has been broken. I think she got sick of it and started giving it to the kids to use. :) I still think it’s pretty though. Especially the picture you took of them.
    I am kinda with you on the gold service though, don’t think I could pull that off either. But I would have loved to have had dinner with Uncle

  • Whenever my dad and brother went on the 1 week scouting trip in the summer my mom would make jello and pudding and put them in fancy wine glasses for us 4 girls left at home. It is something I would look forward to each year!

  • JudyB:

    Love the little wine glasses with the gold leaf design! Cute and fun, something different. Now the gold silverware….seems kind of odd but might be fun to use. Your Uncle Chuck must have been an interesting guy. My father gave me Mom’s sterling and I love to use it for special occasions, and should use it more than I do.

    • JudyB:

      By the your hutch.

  • Martha in Kansas:

    Each type of glass is for a different kind of booze, isn’t it? So when you have a tasting, you can REALLY have a tasting.

    A million years ago when my mom babysat my cat while I went to conferences, she’d feed the cat in fancy glasses and bowls. (The cat was unimpressed, but did enjoy being spoon fed ice cream while laying in my mom’s arms like a baby.) So you could do that — feed the cats.

    I think the doll has the potential to be a sort of prize no one wants. Whichever boy misbehaves has to have the doll in their room for a stated amount of time. Or something. It looks like it’s made from an old quilt and probably was a remnant of someone’s grandma. Too bad the story is lost.

  • I like that doll.
    I like the quilt body.
    I wonder what (or if there even is ) the story behind the quilt?


    • Oh. I LOVE The wine glasses to.
      And the utensils! What a collector’s find!
      I love it when people bring me boxes of things.
      I end up giving or donated most of it but there are always a treasure or two amongst the not so cool stuff!

  • Kay in KCMO:

    Reed & Barton?!? Oh, baby, you struck…uh…gold! That’s some seriously good stuff, there. I’m not kidding.

    Those wine glasses that you photographed against the window? I used to have those! A sister gave them to me when I was in college. They were a bit too much for me, though, so I ended up giving them away about six years ago.

    I wonder if the gold-patterned, small, wine glasses with decanter might be sherry glasses.

  • LucyJoy:

    Beautiful glasses!

    Several years ago, one of my Aunts gave me several sets of her Aunts cut crystal cordial glasses, which Auntie remembers drinking wine from… Another Aunt gave me some stemmed dessert “bowls” that could also be used for champagne glasses. I love the old stuff, especially when it has history behind it!

    I love the idea that others have made for a wine tasting party!

    My Uncle gave me some silverplate flatwear that we bring out when we have a lot of company & need extra forks, spoons & knives. It’s not our style, either, but it serves a good purpose when you have a crowd!

    OK….the doll I could do without…

  • If I ever find myself in your neighborhood you can be sure I will stop by with multiple bottles of wine to test out the various wine glasses…

  • action squirrel:

    Fancy stuff you got there!

    I’m pretty sure that’s champagne/sparking wine, riesling, small red wine, white wine, spirits. Kind of an interesting collection. Was he German by any chance?

    The gold-plated silverware would go well with some really super modern plates.

  • Kitty Conner:

    Oh Rechelle! As someone mentioned above, Reed & Barton!! That is a very fine silver set. And the two glasses on the left (the flute and the red wine) are Longchamps crystal. I’m not positive about the other three, though the two on the right closely resemble a few lovely sets of crystal I’ve been eying at Macy’s. (Perhaps a Lenox or a Mikasa? There’s also a Reed & Barton that’s similar.)

    Such treasures.


  • Samantha:

    Good stuff….even if it isn’t your taste use them anyway to give a kick to your regular wares.

    Start a tradition of hosting an ‘Uncle Chuck’ party and have some fun with it all!

  • susan:

    I think the story is in Uncle Chuck. Lived alone. No children. That would be a fascinating read if you could get any that knew him to open up. Surely someone knew the real person…but maybe not.

  • Kiara:

    You shouldn’t donate to the Salvation Army.
    Watch this video to find out why not:

    • jalf:

      Any chance you could give us a summary? ;) Life is too short for watching every video on Youtube that people link to.

      • Lgirl:

        Short story They are a homophobic cult.

  • Kathy from NJ:

    I agree that the small ones might be sherry or port glasses. And an “Uncle Chuck” party sounds like fun.

    My husband loved to drink from fine crystal – he said everything tasted better from good glassware. My first nice gift to him was four Waterford Lismore brandy balloons. We continued to buy it (it was affordable back then) and ended up with quite a collection. I no longer drink alcohol so after he died I gave it away to his favorite nephew; thankfully that nephew and his wife (say they) love it and use it.

    One thing that I did learn from my husband is the glasses should not be stored upside down on their rims; the rims are fragile and subject to chipping. So please turn your lovely glasses right side up.

  • another Jill:

    there are no words to express my raging jealousy. if you really won’t use any of those fabulous pieces, sell them to

    and don’t tell me. I will cry. gold forks! holy moses! I. am. green.

  • Nancy:

    Those glasses would be perfect for hosting an atheist meet-up. Just sayin’.

  • Shells:

    Tuna salad eaten with gold forks becomes a feast for anyone …
    A cheap wine drank from the most elaborate glass becomes nectar of the Gods …..
    Fine china was meant to eat toast from ….

    I say use them and enjoy them and imagine Uncle Chuck sitting beside enjoying your company

  • Carolyn:

    A website with display suggestions:

    Just curious…. why do you display the glasses upside down?
    I once stored my drinking glasses upside down. Then I started wondering why I did that and decided it was because my mother did it that way. I learned that her reason was to “keep the dust out. I guess we had dusty cabinets back then. I started storing glasses and cups right-side up.

    • Rechelle:

      I really have no idea why I stored them upside down. But someday I will be able to create a whole new look by turning them right side up.

    • Kait:

      I store mine upside down too. Even my everyday ones. It is a mother thing I am sure. However, if you don’t use them often they really can gather dust. Unless you have a hermetically sealed cabinet. :)

  • theresa:

    This is way off topic and just as uninteresting, but I have a plate that matches the covered dish you have displayed on your hutch! It belonged to my husband’s grandmother. I’ll try to post a photo…

  • kathleen:

    You are so lucky! Some really nice stuff. I even like the doll. You do have four sons. Maybe you’ll have big rehearsal dinners. Maybe they’ll need glassware. You be the go-to girl for extra wine glasses for friends and family. Did April get a big box,too? Your mom is pretty crafty!

  • Lgirl:

    I wish I was your neighbour. I’d take some, I have 3 odd wine glasses and 8 mis-matched dinner plates. I’ll never have a party!

  • AmeliaJake:

    Are you quite certain there is no hidden zipper in the doll, or perhaps a basted rather than stitched seam?