I drink a lot of coffee, so I have a fair number of coffee mugs, I go through phases with favorite mugs. Sometimes it’s one of the two matching firecracker mug I bought at Starbucks (I always drink from the red one and my husband always drinks from the blue); sometimes it’s the ‘Mom Rocks’ mug Lucy got me for Christmas one year; lately, it’s this one: ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’
I like this mug because it’s large and red and says this. Mostly I love it because it reminds me of my Grandmother Johnson., Grammy T to us. (The T was for her favorite beverage.) She was English. She was born in Guildford-Surrey, to a large family named Marshall. I never knew much about her family, except that she had a lot of sisters, many of whom died young from diabetes.
She was working as a waitress in a tea shop in London when she met my grandfather, John Johnson. He was an American who felt strongly that the US should be in WW I, so he enlisted in the Canadian Army. They met, fell in love, and married while he was stationed in England, and my Uncle Roy was born when my grandfather was in France. According to family legend, the soldiers called from trench to trench, “Private John Johnson, you have a son, Roy Albert, born…”
A lovely story.
After the war ended, the couple settled somewhere in Canada, which was fortunate, because my grandmother developed diabetes and was able to receive treatment in the country where they first developed injectable insulin. It saved her life.
She had two more children (my mother the youngest) and was known for her no nonsense ways, her love of baseball, corn on the cob, and Tarzan, and for rarely crying. I was told that she cried when she heard that the Germans had bombed Coventry, and then wiped her face and quickly went back to doing whatever chore occupied her at the time.
She had no patience with excessive displays of sentiment. “Pull your socks up,” she would say to me if I had dissolved into tears—no matter what the cause of the tears. She would have known the “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan from WWII well — she wrote letters to her friends and relatives during the war.
Right now, I am concentrating on keeping my own socks up. And when I drink coffee from this mug, I can see Grammy T’s approving nod, which makes the coffee better.
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