I won a cup. My enthusiasm for this gift would spill over its small confines and the fact that I have one has made me yearn for another. Two more, actually, which is my friend’s fault as she mentioned, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have three on the mantle?” Curses.
Seeped in Midwestern niceness, it seems too much to ask, so I have not filled out another request form. I have a little fantasy that at the end of the exhibit they will have just one left and I would actually be doing them a favor by offering to take it “forever.”
Emily Evans Eerdmans and I spent a lovely day together last weekend and I drove her by the old house, which has large taupe paint swatches on the living room walls, and to the Nelson to see the Twomey “Forever” exhibit among other things.
As Emily filled out her form I overheard a woman, about my age, explaining to the staff person that her son would take her cup upon her passing and that he had agreed to keep the cup forever as well. He looked up nodding earnestly.
When I surveyed the troops, all 1,345 cups (representative of the number of pieces in the Burnap collection, from which the inspiration of the cup was taken) it was difficult to not be impressed with the size of the original gift, with the significance its donors gave it and their belief that the collection would have value in perpetuity.
“Who remembers?” asked Mr. Blandings. “Who remembers what?” “That the entire collection has to be kept forever.” “They write things down.” But I wonder if that dark-haired boy, or any of my own, will remember such a promise as he sifts and sorts. Forever is a very long time.