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Measuring Summer

38 Years Later

A week ago today, Tom and I celebrated our 38th anniversary with a quick trip to Chicago (yeah . . . we saw Hamilton again . . . ) and then had a bit of a "pub crawl" the next day on our way home.  (I say "a bit" because we only stopped at 2 places - Three Floyds in Munster, IN and Greenbush in Sawyer, MI . . . and one of us was the designated driver.)  (That was me.)

Anyway.  We had a great time.

Yesterday I pulled out my trusty salad bowl to use once again, and it got me thinking about our wedding -- because my salad bowl was a wedding gift.  I was thinking about how often I use this particular bowl, and what a perfect gift it was.  


Tom's childhood neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Ratliff, gave us the bowl.  It wasn't intended to be a salad bowl, actually -- just a lovely wooden bowl for display.  But over the years, it's become my go-to bowl for pretty much any salad I throw together.  I use it all the time, as you may be able to tell by the worn edges around the rim.  (That wear-and-tear has made the bowl all the more beautiful, actually.  I'm happy it's not one of those "pretty things" I just packed away and never used.) It is a much loved item in my kitchen, and I actually think about it being a wedding gift every time I use it.  

There are a few other wedding gifts that we still have and use regularly.  A lot of things were much appreciated back in 1981, but they simply did not hold up or stand the test of time over the long haul.  Since it's a Thursday, I thought it might be fun to share 3 more wedding gifts we're still using . . . 38 years later.  

Here they are:  Three Wedding Gifts with Staying Power.

1 - The glass-and-chrome "relish tray"


As a 22-year-old, I remember unwrapping this gift and just thinking . . . what the heck will we ever do with THIS????  It is super shiny and totally not my style (then or now).  And yet . . . this particular relish tray has made an appearance at every single party or get-together we have hosted since 1981!  Ugly?  Yes!  But oh so useful!  The elevated chrome "tray" rotates.  The little glass "dishes" lift out separately for easy filling and even easier washing.  The middle "dish" is perfect for holding dips or hummus or what-have-yous, and the outside "dishes" are great for veggies or fruits or cheeses or crackers.  I mean . . . this bright and shiny hideosity turned out to be a PERFECT party serving piece and I will be forever grateful to my mom's former co-worker Mr. Dolence for this gift.  (I think of him and chuckle whenever I pull this tray out for a party.  I'm sure he wouldn't remember me or this relish tray even if tortured.)

2 - The Pyrex mixing bowl set


If you were lucky enough to receive a Pyrex mixing bowl set for your wedding, you quickly realized . . . you were pretty much set for life when it came to mixing bowls.  Four sizes.  Super versatile.  An ultimate git-r-dun kind of kitchen tool.  Until I got my KitchenAid Stand Mixer about 10 years ago, every single batch of cookies, every cake, every meatloaf I ever made . . . was mixed in that big bowl there.  (Thanks Jeri Cay Boulden, Tri-Delt sister!  I'll bet you had no idea you'd live on in my memory forever because of these bowls.)  The smallest sized bowl - sadly - cracked only last year.  I miss it still.

3 - The remaining 2 items from the 6-piece kitchen utility set (with special veggie motif handles)


Yep.  The potato masher and a very sad (but much used) strainer are all that remain of this set -- which at one time included a little hanging rack (also with veggie motif) and matching spatula, ladle, fork, and mixing spoon.  I don't actually remember when the other utility tools met their ends (except for the spatula) (the plastic handle made contact with a hot burner) (it wasn't pretty), but these guys still have a place in my utility drawer --even making it through multiple Kon-Marie's of my kitchen.  I don't actually recall who gave us this particular gift, but I'm betting they'd be surprised that it's lasted this long.  (By the way, that veggie motif?  Sticker!)

38 years later.  
Still going strong!

There are a few other long-lasting wedding gifts around -- a few random steak knives, a sterling silver tray, the "happy mushroom" motif potholders (I'd share a photo, but they're in the cabin kitchen up north), a wedding clock that doesn't work any more (but is still quite pretty), a coffee table book about Idaho (there was a connection), and a Corning Ware cutting board (we remember the giver with much fondness).

How about you?  Do you have any gifts - wedding or otherwise - that have really stood the test of time?


Last reminder -- please let me know by today at 5pm Eastern time if you're interested in this month's stash giveaway.



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I have a sterling silver letter opener that I most likely looked at and said "oh". Now...32 years later and in use every day it has become a most treasured gift. I'm giving one to a new bride next weekend. (We have a local silversmith so it's really quite a treasure!) I'm still using my Revere Ware pans and Pfaltzgraff dishes but those dishes...they really gotta go! :-)


I adore this post and laughed right out loud at you calling that relish tray a hideosity! I have a similar divided glass dish but without the chrome lazy susan part. I always use it at Thanksgiving for olives and stuffed celery but that's it. It was a shower gift for my first marriage back in 1988. I have a few silver trays from then and a really beautiful cake stand that I still use. Dale and I had a very small wedding and we didn't have a shower at all so I don't have many items related to it but I do have a napkin holder and soap dispenser that we bought on our honeymoon in Maine that are still in our kitchen.


My always practical dad & his wife gave us an Amana Radarange Microwave Oven for a wedding gift! At the time, it was probably a $400+/- purchase (over $900 in today's dollars). (For.A.Microwave!) My uncle (Dad's brother) gave us a set of Corning cookware to go with it. Rusty was trying to fix something (change a light bulb? something simple...) and a slip of the screwdriver caused it to short out, just before it's 30th birthday (4.5 years ago)!! I was never so happy about a failed repair! That thing was a BEAST, and I was happy to reclaim a chunk of countertop real estate (and then eventually replace it with a much smaller model, at around 1/10th the price of the original... which almost certainly won't last 30 years). The Corning ware was very well used, but I think only a lid remains. Anyway, those things were appreciated and used A LOT (even if I was praying for the demise of the microwave for years).

We had an extremely small wedding, so not many gifts... lasting, useful, or memorable!


This is such a cool and interesting post! Mainly because 38 years later I am not using a single wedding gift. My mother "registered" us for crystal, china, and other stuff that was not useful then and definitely not now. I'm thinking maybe I need to throw an anniversary party for 40 years and ask for a salad bowl and Pyrex mixing bowls!


Hideosity... best word of the day, EVER! Oh boy. And, Yes! I do indeed have things left from my wedding (that I actually kept in the divorce and still use today!) One is an awesome pewter pine apple that my beloved MiL gave us. I still use it and always think of her when I pull it out!

(oh, and it was not a wedding gift - but a new apartment gift from my Nana - a potato masher that I still have and use!)


Your relish tray reminds me very much of one my grandmother had and used to fill with cut-up vegetables (with black olives in the center bowl). I can remember driving up to visit my grandparents in Detroit on Fridays and arriving in time for Shabbat dinner, where that relish tray and her three-color Jello mold were my favorite things on the table.

My husband and I have been married for a lot less time than you and Tom (our 12th anniversary is this coming Monday), but the one gift that I use constantly is a cast aluminum oval baking pan that some friends of my parents gave us. I use it at least once a week and it's amazing -- food doesn't stick to it and it's light and easy to clean. It's not exactly sentimental, but it is a great piece.

By the way, I'm pretty sure my mother had some of those veggie-handled utensils when I was growing up!

Carolyn S Thomas

What a fun post, Kym!! I love this. Our wedding gift that has stood the test of time--and has been used every single Friday for (only) 19 years is our pizza stone. It is so beautifully seasoned now, and we've used it religiously for homemade pizza--but also for every batch of cookies my teenager makes, as well as biscuits, rolls, bread, scones. That and our egg poacher are probably our two most-oft-used gifts we got.

Cheryl S.

I, too, was married (the first time) in 1981. And there are definitely wedding gifts that I still use. My Rival Crock-Pot (I refuse to get rid of it since the newer ones cook faster), a Sunbeam hand-held mixer for the small jobs, when I don't want to drag out the standing mixer, and a big, thick maple cutting board that Larry hates because it's so big and heavy, and that I love because it's so big and heavy. I still have some bath towels, too, but just use them for odd jobs. I gave my stoneware set to my current neighbor when he needed dishes, and he's still using it.

I also have 2 things from my parents' wedding in 1953 that I use: A heavy aluminum dutch oven with a glass lid, and a Lennox vase.


The only thing I can think of is my electric egg cooker. At the time I thought, how silly! You can just boil an egg in a pot. And, yes, you can, but the egg cooker does it without watching and dings when it is done. Perfect eggs.

Glad you had such a wonderful anniversary celebration.


What a fun post! I actually have a bunch of things we received (39 years ago!!) that we still use - some serving bowls and a platter, a crystal vase, some art work that is still hanging, my Revere pots & pans, some hand towels (because we don't use them often). I think my Pyrex casserole dishes are from way back then also!

I love your salad bowl. My parents gave us a salad bowl and individual bowls one year from a bowl mill in my Dad's hometown in Vermont. We use them constantly!

Kim in Oregon

I have that relish tray, also a wedding gift. Also have similar pyrex dishes that we use all the time.


I think mostly everyone even close to that time period somehow ended up with that relish dish - ours got shattered during one of our many moves.

I'm sure there's more than just this, but one thing I know we received as a wedding gift was a Christmas-themed spoon rest that a friend's mother made for us. It gets pulled out and used every single Christmas season. :-)

Jeannie Gray

I still have and use daily the cutting board I received from my first marriage! Actually, now that I think about it, my top 3 are all from that first wedding. Besides the cutting board, there's an antique, cut glass vase that, like your veggie dish, is not my style yet I LOVE it and use it constantly. And there's a set of plastic Christmas tumblers that were actually a shower gift but they are my absolute favorite drinking glass. Perfect weight, perfect thickness, drinks seem to stay cold longer in them.... They are very worn now and I look ridiculous using them mid-summer but....

My current marriage gifts were few. We both already had houses full of stuff and we were married by the magistrate with only our parents & siblings present. Our gifts were the land to build our house on and the kitchen appliances for said house and a fancy mailbox. Needless to say, all the gifts stayed with the house when we moved many years later.


40 years ago we received our Pyrex mixing bowls, which I still use. However, I too broke the smallest bowl a couple months ago. There are a set of full size sheets that were given to us as a wedding gift that I still have on an infrequently used spare bed at our cabin up north. It was fun sitting here thinking about our wedding gifts and what has become of them.

kathy b

What a fun post. Congratulations and many more. I love the stories about your gifts.

After 36 years a few have survived here too:

A nativity set from two families as we were married a week before Christmas. Very sweet.

Some ornaments from folks.

I actually have a notebook where I wrote all the gifts down. I know someone gave me the only iron I've ever had and rarely use!

The bedding is long gone. The pots and pans too. Towels, hampers. Griddle . Electric frying pan bit the dust but not too long ago. Mixer survives. But now I use my KitchenAide .

Oh A letter opener!


We were given a beautiful wooden plate - myrtle wood? from Oregon that I have on the coffee table full of shells. I hung it on the wall in our first home. My brother-in-law and his wife gave us a school type clock in a wood case that has hung in every living room we lived in. I also have a set of Noritake china that I use on special occasions. I use the dessert plates to serve my book club and my Crafting group friends. Oh and two Corning Ware casserole dishes (blue and white pattern) There may be a few other odds and ends around after almost 42 years!


I don't find your relish tray at all hideous. Is there something wrong with me? Or maybe your photography is just good at bringing out the best in, trays.


My first marriage was in 1971 and I have an electric skillet (Smith won't give it up) and a beautiful etched crystal pitcher with matching cordial glasses. We don't use it often but I love its elegance. My mother gave Smith and I (in 1980) two large (really large) stainless bowls that we use for large salads and popcorn. Our stainless steel cutlery was given to us by Smith's brother and we still love it today. Nothing is of much value except for its usefulness (and memories).


Reading this post late - but I love it. All the memories with these gifts in our past. I have a lot of my wedding gifts 33 years later -- not the sheets or towels, they are long gone. But pots and pans. The griddle from Aunt Glenna and Uncle John. The tablecloth Ashley and Dee Ann brought back from South Africa. The china and stainless - though we've had to replace a lot of spoons. They are hiding with socks, somewhere. I blame yogurt.

Now we're buying wedding gifts for the next generation. I had a conversation with someone recently about this. She was critical of someone who bought something that wasn't what the couple registered for. Something like your crystal serving piece. But I argued for unsought gifts. (Though buying people what they ask for is FINE.) Sometimes, sometimes we don't know what we want, or need, or will cherish. Till we are given it.

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