I recently moved and was getting my kitchen reestablished. I needed the basics, namely pots and pans. When I was growing up, my mother always purchased Revere Ware, which she said it was the best. The pots were made with sturdy stainless steel and finished with a copper bottom—a look that was always distinguishable on the stove top. I remember as a child seeing her flip the pan over in her hand, telling me to look for the imprint. There on the base of the pan was the outline of silversmith Paul Revere. His iconic name as the “midnight rider” from the Revolutionary War and 1776 became a line of cookware called Revere Ware. My mom is 89 now, and no longer cooking, but her words are kept in my memory.
Having an inkling for nostalgia, I wondered if I could find a similar saucepan for my new home. I began my quest at the local Goodwill, surveying the assortment of secondhand wares. Amongst the collection, was a lone saucepan that looked like the ones from my mom’s kitchen. This particular pan stood out to me like a neon sign, blinking “Pick me, pick me!” My thoughts replied, “But you are so humble in appearance! Definitely, Goodwill Elite as a cast off and throw away!”
The pan did not have a lid, was well worn, and had seen its fair share of cooking. It had two pieces to the handle which were held together with two rusted screws, but overall, it was well made. I thought about how I could tighten the handle with a screwdriver to perhaps eek a bit more wear and tear out of the vessel. When I flipped the pan over, I did not see the imprint. I was disappointed; all the clues led me to believe this was a Revere Ware saucepan. However, the $2.99 price tag and the quality of the craftsmanship, led me to buy it anyway. The pan felt right in my hands. It was a memory from the past.
When I got home, I put the saucepan in the dishwasher to ensure a proper cleaning before use. As I started the clean cycle, buyer’s remorse crept into my mind. At this point in the year, the pandemic set like a heavy cloud over the use of secondhand things. I considered throwing the pan away, thinking my purchase was too nostalgic. For after all, it was not the real deal; it did not have the imprint.
The next day, when the dishes were dry and I began putting away the silverware, cups, and glasses, I pulled out the saucepan and noticed the high dry heat of the dishwasher turned the copper bright orange. It was completely clean; the residue was gone. With eager childish curiosity, I flipped the pan over to look again at the base of the pan, examining to see if perhaps, just perhaps, there may have been a craftsman’s mark I could have missed.
To my amazement and joy, the Revere Ware imprint was there! It had been made visible by the cleaning of the pan. Faint, but there! The years of use over a hot stove had simply worn down the finish. I looked on a blog site to find out more of its value and history. These pots and pans, now collectables no longer made of this original quality, can be found on eBay or Amazon. Where had the time gone since I had been in my mother’s home with her cooking beside me? I saw one listing for two pans priced over $160 dollars! I was thrilled about my find! Considering the construction of the pan with the two-piece handle, it was according to the website, made before 1960. The pan was more than fifty years old. If only, the saucepan could speak of its journey!
This story and encounter mirrored my life’s journey. Oftentimes, as I think about myself as a Christian, Jesus’ image was quite visible in the early days. My enthusiasm and vocal attributes of my salvation experience were noticeable. Dynamic and outspoken. I was evangelical. For after all, being saved from guilt, condemnation and misery is a wonderful freedom! But as the years passed and the many tempest, trials and temptations, the once fully rigged battleship, looks more weather-beaten than regal. Soft on the edges, lots of bumps and bruises, a smoother worn finish along the edge.
And what of the imprint? It is hidden. It is covered in layers of soot or dirt or life’s daily meanderings. Tarnished, yet still there. The imprint of freedom which depicts God’s gift of love through Jesus Christ is still nestled in my heart. I rejoice with God’s imprint on my soul! For I know, despite the challenges and complexities of this earthly life, what the expert Craftsman has made, is eternal.
Cheryl Smith says
This was a lovely piece to read on July 4th- or any day. Many thoughts flooded my own mind and memories. Thank you for taking us on this written journey with a reminder of how we are tarnished but bright with Christ.
Susan Caldwell says
I am so glad that you liked the story! Happy 4th of July!