A house divided...

Baltimore was a divided town, there were those who loved Kirk Silverware and those who loved Stieff. They were further divided over whether one should use the Betsy Patterson or Betsy Patterson engraved pattern. Once a very good friend got engaged to a very nice girl but they had to call it off since she was from a Kirk silver clan while he his family only used Steiff. There was simply no possible way any such marriage had a chance to survive; how could you ever invite her folk over for dinner when the serving utensils were Steiff or even have his folk over for a Sunday brunch since the cold cut fork was from Kirk.

I grew up traumatized but fortunately not over the silverware. My side of the family were all Steiff going back at least 5 generations.

But my grandfather loved Sheaffer pens and Hamilton watches while my father favored Parker and Lord Elgin. They still spoke when they were both in the office and we were still allowed to go visit but when my grandfather gave me one of his Sheaffer pens and I actually liked it my parents realized I was beyond the pale. It was okay as long as it stayed in my pocket but I could feel their shame when I took it out in public to write.

I remember when I got a new suit and my dad gave me one of his Parker Vacumatics in the same Golden Brown that matched. "It looks much better than that green pen you use", he said. I had a green corduroy Sport Coat though and he would let me carry that old green thing when wearing it.

Like I said, I was conflicted and traumatized....but also not stupid. So when we were going to Christmas dinner at the Grandparents I wore the new brown suit with the Golden Brown Parker vacumatic. Soon I had the beginnings of a very nice Sheaffer collection.

And an equally nice assortment of Parkers.