She was almost past our house when she suddenly stopped and stared. Her eyes widened, her mouth dropped open, and as she moved towards our table of rejects, I could see the longing in her eyes.
My mother had a keen wit, a love of good books, reading, languages, and life-long learning, and a generally impeccable sense of justice. She had a number of faults too of course, and one of them was a perverse talent for unwittingly picking the last thing in the world you would want as a gift. Having grown up in the age before plastics were widely used, my mother never got over her fascination for Mellmac, Tupperware, and just about any other plastic product you could mention. “It never wears out!” she used to say, when I expressed my loathing for polyester. “You can drop it and it won’t chip or break,” she would say when I longed to eat off china instead of Tupperware. “Termites can’t eat it!” was her standard line when I wondered why we couldn’t buy more furniture made of wood. Over the years, she never quite learned what I liked, so I accumulated a collection of things I could never use or develop an aesthetic appreciation for.
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