Since starting my vintage Pyrex shop I’ve come to realise just what a bone of contention our favourite vintage glassware can be in long term relationships. In fact it may even be among the top ten causes of divorce in the western world (ok, I did make that statistic up but going by the experience of some of my customers it’s certainly up there with eating toast in bed or forgetting your anniversary…and we’ve just lost three readers who’ve had to head out to the nearest 24hr supermarket to buy champagne, chocolates and a “And They Said It Wouldn’t Last” greetings card). It would seem that most (though luckily not all) romantic duos in the vintage Pyrex world consist of one Pyrex addict and one person who is convinced that vintage Pyrex fancying is a cult and that their partner should be kidnapped and deprogrammed – probably by being given small electric shocks every time they attempt to Google ‘Coral Gooseberry Pyrex’!
That said, there are some very supportive vintage Pyrex fan’s partners out there. The other day I read of the wedding ceremony of a lady who loves her Pyrex, where Pyrex was prominent, even being mentioned in the vows. This was, of course, with the full support of the groom, who I gather has often given his bride fabulous vintage Pyrex gifts. He understands and encourages her interest. I suspect many people would happily trade their partner in for such a one and I hope that when medical science makes it possible, this gentleman will give his consent to being cloned, for the benefit of single vintage Pyrex collectors everywhere. I’ve heard of a few other similar couples and also some where one partner is happy to go along with the others collecting, strictly on the understanding that it’s for “investment purposes only”. A few years down the line it will be fascinating to see how many estrangements take place when one half of the couple decides it’s time to cash in!
There are also couples where one party indulges the other’s collecting but all too often this seems to be dependent on two factors: the amount of space which the vintage Pyrex occupies and remaining blissfully ignorant of how much it costs! The latter is particularly important if you collect Pyrex from a different country or if you don’t happen to live in one of those fairytale lands where the streets (or at least the thrift shops) are paved with vintage Pyrex! It may once have been true that you’d be tripping over the stuff in charity shops or at car boot sales but alas that is no longer the case, although some of my customers expend quite a lot of effort to pretend to their other halves that it is. One of the first things I learned as a purveyor of fine vintage Pyrex was that complete discretion is absolutely essential at all times. The first ‘line of defence’ that a few of my customers have is “secret” PayPal and email accounts, kept solely for the purpose of sneaky Pyrex transactions. Several of them also have ‘secret addresses’ where their contraband Pyrex is sent. They then collect it and smuggle it into their homes (presumably under cover of darkness and after putting the dishes into some form of disguise!). One lady I know actually unpacks her purchase and then puts it into a shopping bag, taking it home for her partner to admire as a savvy buy from a charity shop! Another has invented several elderly relatives keen to pass on their cherished Pyrex to “ someone who will appreciate it when I’ve gone.” Actually, I think that MI5 or the CIA should seriously consider recruiting vintage Pyrex enthusiasts – they’re inventive, cool under pressure and probably able to pass lie detector tests!
Although I’m single, I know from bitter experience that tensions can ensue when your vintage Pyrex collection starts to take up the shared living space. I still live at home with my mum and sister (and kitten) and have sometimes had to thin my collection a bit when it threatens to take over the whole house. One of the problems we now have is that enthusiasm for vintage Pyrex can be quite infectious and where there was once one collection, there are now three! Mine covers everything (I just can’t say no!), my mum’s tends heavily towards US Pyrex and my sister’s is more Snowflake and Gooseberry based. So far Raffles the kitten has resisted the urge to turn collector, although the other day, when it was extremely hot, he was found curled up fast asleep in one of my Coral Gooseberry 444s, so I’m assuming his taste runs to JAJ, mostly rarities!
If you find yourself romantically involved with one of those weird (come on, we’re all thinking it!) people who aren’t interested in vintage Pyrex, is there anything you can do to make them more sympathetic to your collecting needs? Well, you could try nostalgia. Most mums or grandmothers have/do cook with Pyrex and many people have fond memories associated with the designs on the dishes they used. Again, I sadly have personal experience of this as my mum’s mum apparently had a Tuscany dish which she always used for Shepherd’s Pie. My grandmother had other dishes in patterns which I personally prefer (I like Tuscany but it’s not one of my favourites, why my Nan couldn’t have bought a Morning Star for this particular recipe I shall never know!) but it seems she always made her Shepherd’s Pie in Tuscany. Consequently Shepherd’s Pie in Tuscany hits all sorts of emotional and nostalgic buttons for my mum, so yes, we now always have to cook that meal in an identical one to the one my Nan used. Anyway, this emotional resonance which vintage Pyrex has can be used to your advantage if you can find out what pattern dishes your beloved’s mum or granny used. If this plan fails – “my Mum used to have some Pyrex. No, I don’t know what sort. I think it had leaves on it…I’d know it if I saw it…” – you can always try cooking something wonderful in a dish of your favourite pattern and try creating your own nostalgia.
If you’re not lucky enough to find a partner who will support you in your vintage Pyrex obsession and all attempts to convert him or her to the cause fail, you can take comfort from this; at least if you ever break up there won’t be a custody battle for the kitchenware.