The Spoon Apocalypse

My paternal grandmother believed that at some point in the near future the world would be bereft of spoons.  To prepare her grandchildren for the coming apocalypse, we all received spoons for Christmas, that is until Cousin George, then over six foot eight, pooped on her prophesy. I believe his exact words were “Get your head out of the vodka bottle Grandmother.”

“Oh what a wonderful spoon, Grandmother! Now I’m prepared for the Spoon Apocalypse.

Through all my travels and relocations, my spoon collection has not fared well but I still have the first one she ever sent me. It’s a sterling silver teaspoon with an etching of the Moorhead Minnesota Public Library.  I always assumed it was just something she picked up at some antique store, but through the miracle of the internet, I believe it had some other meaning to her besides the spoon prophesy.

Moorhead was my Grandmother’s home until her father died and her mother married The Judge. Probably a wise thing for a young widow with two small children to do but The Judge was a controlling nasty pants who didn’t allow his stepchildren to talk of their father or paternal aunts, uncles and cousins still living in Moorhead. That town always remained a life that could have been if not for the Spanish flu.  As a freshman in college when the library opened, she probably also spent a lot of time there.  At that time, the University of North Dakota at Fargo catered to the study of animal husbandry and improvement of soy bean crops and not to the study of something so useless as English literature.  So the spoon wasn’t just something she wrapped in foil and sent to her granddaughter (or maybe it was and I’m just a fruitcake)

After Grandmother’s death my aunt sent me this odd assortment of her utensils. Note anything odd?


There’s only one fork and who needs that many butter knives? Or pickle forks.

I don’t know what to do with all those spoons. Perhaps play Spoons.  Have you ever heard of that game?  Apparently it’s also known as Pig and Tongue and it is some kind of variation of Musical Chairs.  The winners of Spoons take a spoon from the middle of the table and the winners of Pig, fart.  (Not really they just touch the end of their noses. Don’t ask.) The winners of Tongue stick their tongues out.  I imagine it’s a game old Judge Nasty Pants would have loved.

Maybe I’ll give the spoons to the Spoon Lady!  Any odd things you’ve gotten as Christmas presents that made sense many years later?


29 thoughts on “The Spoon Apocalypse

  1. I love your spoon story. I’m afraid I don’t have such a meaningful one. I come from a tradition where Xmas gifts were neither expected nor given. We’d simpy have a get-together dinner and that’s it.

  2. My mother collected spoons for me. Over the years she’s sent them to me. I suppose I am supposed to display them. I dunno. It’s not my thing, it’s her thing. I dunno why it’s her thing, or why she should want it to be my thing, but I keep all the spoons in a drawer in the china cabinet. Maybe spoon love will come with age, or one of my kids will love spoons, or they’ll sell them when I’m gone.
    Interesting you’ve also been given many spoons.
    My mother does like vodka…

    1. Giving spoons to someone is supposed to guarantee them good health according to the spoon theory and since her father and her brother both died early in life, maybe she was a bit superstitious!

  3. Like joey my mother collected spoons for me, too. I have some of them, but don’t know if any are of value– beyond being pretty to look at. We don’t use them to eat with, so they stay in a pretty mason jar in the cupboard waiting, I guess, for Spoon Apocalypse. Now, I have a sudden desire to learn more about them. Thanks, I think…

    1. I read online that spoons are supposed to give good health. I’m taking leaps and bounds by imagining my grandmother’s intent. She’d probably scoff and tell me I was a silly girl.

  4. I love this post. I wonder if your grandmother grew up in a house where there weren’t enough spoons (or cutlery in general?). Sometimes early experiences like that can shape a person forever.

    One of my grandparents was in a terrible accident when they were a child that killed quite a few other kids. There was nothing they could have done to prevent it, but they’ve always been quite protective of our family because of that.

    1. Could have been the case. She never talked much about her childhood. Unfortunately there’s no way of preventing accidents but I can understand your grandparent’s protectiveness. So sad to have to live a whole lifetime with painful memories from childhood.

  5. Ha! I love this post, Jan. What a lovely tradition. LOL, spoon apocalypse… It’s a good thing your grandmother wouldn’t have foreseen the current zombie craze in TV and movies, or the real life zombies who are absorbed in texting while they walk. Now there’s your zombie apocalypse. o_O Mega hugs.

    1. Thanks Teagan. North Dakota in the winter is pretty dead. She probably knew a few zombies. I hope you have a fun filled holiday full of cheer and devoid of zombies, unless of course they’re bringing the eggnog!

  6. Back in the day, boxed cutlery sets were always popular as wedding presents. Unfortunately, they were often put away and only used for ‘best’. We have two sets that belonged to my partner’s parents. Tarnished and unused, they look very sad, but it’s nice to know that they once had pride of place on the dining table, even if only used a couple of times a year. I wonder what everyday objects we use today will be relegated to cupboards in years to come?

    1. Some things come back into vogue. I had cast iron pans that belonged to my great grandparents and I thought they took up too much space and were too hard to clean so I gave them away. Now they are considered gold to many chefs. I hope you guys are having a great holiday full of good cheer and surrounded by love.

  7. Seems to me if we had to choose a worry, we should hope it’s food we don’t run out of, not spoons. But the latest stats show that the world harvest has been plentiful, what with mass chemical industrialization in farming. So no worries.

  8. I’ve never encountered anyone with a spoon fetish or any other utensil obsession. That is a new one for me.

    I do, however, have a cousin David that us 6′ 8″…on my maternal side. And, shortest of my mom’s brothers is 6′ 3″.

  9. I like this post. I once got a box from an elderly aunt containing two dozen lime dishtowels (I repurposed them as diapers), several unmatched gloves and a couple of unmatched earrings. Another time she sent me a dress and when I commented on how pretty the buttons were she said “I think I’d like those buttons back.” Really? (I ignored her request and I think that was our last communication). ………………………….. So spoons are not so bad… in fact I could use some!

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