Friday, March 4, 2016

Scattered Childhood Memories #8: The Snowflake Plate

You know those motivational posters that say things like "dare to be different" and "be your own person"? Nobody had to tell Kid Me that. From a very young age, I was thrilled by things that were different. If there were ten identical toys, but one toy had a scratch on it? Give me the scratched one! Different meant special, and I always wanted the thing that was special. I almost never cared what color of [insert item here] I got, as long as I got a color nobody else had.

That was me -- and yes, I was a little odd.

In early elementary school, we'd sometimes go visit my cousins, who lived a few hours away. My aunt had a bunch of these square-ish Tupperware plates, on which she'd serve lunch to us kids....

At some point, she'd collected just one (it seemed) of the Christmas Set of Tupperware Plates. On this one red plate, there was a simple snowflake in one corner....

I quickly became obsessed with that plate. Oh, the glorious snowflake, temporarily hidden by a baloney sandwich, then... aha... there it was! That special icon that adorned just one plate. Woe to the children who had to eat off the plain, snowflake-less plates!

Perhaps the Snowflake Plate was equally coveted by my brother and cousins, or maybe they noticed my obsession with it, and that increased its value. All I know is, it became my mission to get the Snowflake Plate at mealtimes, even if it meant sneaking into the kitchen as soon as I heard my aunt making lunch, and specifically asking her for it.

My aunt, wisely, often just gave us kids all plain plates, probably to avoid hearing us fight or complain. But what a disappointment that was. The Snowflake Plate shouldn't have to sit in a cupboard! It should be enjoyed by at least one of us kids... me, especially! I loved you, Snowflake Plate!

^Actual photo of me, age 6, asking my aunt if I could possibly have the Snowflake Plate for lunch that day. Her expression is one of "you have got to be kidding me."

^Alas, I did not get the Snowflake Plate at this meal.

I've since outgrown that need to covet things that are different and/or special. But I am reminded of the Snowflake Plate whenever my students fight over things I think are really petty. I try to be sensitive toward the kid who gets upset because she didn't get the sparkly sticker she wanted. It's not because, necessarily, my students are selfish Veruca Salt-wannabes that are going to grow up to be selfish adults. No, perhaps it's just a phase that a lot of us go through at that age.

At least I hope it's just a phase....

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ETA: After posting the above, my cousin Sarah (whose family owned the snowflake plate) reminded me that she had adored the plate, too. So now, considering that, I'm wondering if my love for the snowflake plate had less to do with wanting the thing that was different, and more to do with having the valuable object that my slightly-older, much-cooler cousin herself coveted?

The plot thickens!

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