Mini Magic

Ten years ago this August, I began a year of service that changed my life.  I was 22, fresh out of college, and fired up to live in intentional community, practice simplicity and sustainability, work for social justice, and let my Christian faith out of the box it inhabited for most of my undergraduate years.

I was about to begin my year in Lutheran Volunteer Corps.

It was a wonderful time.  Among the five of us, I think we had two cell phones, one lap top, and zero cars.  We had no Internet and no cable.  We packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ate so much store-brand stuff that we stopped to take our picture in front of the Roundy’s sign when we saw it on the way to a retreat.

We didn’t do a lot of frivolous shopping.  But three of us did make a serious investment that year: we invested in seasonal mini mugs.

Admit it. You wish this was your mini mug collection.

They were three for 99 cents at Walgreen’s, and were hotly anticipated before each major holiday.  Pumpkins and ghosts for Halloween, Santas and snowmen for Christmas, a slightly creepy bunny for Easter.

We loved them so much that we bought them the year after our volunteer year, too, when the three of us lived together again.  (It was a sad day when we realized that there would be no Easter mini mugs.  No, I am not kidding.)

We enjoyed those mini mugs for the three years we lived together, displaying them with pride and enjoying festive beverages from their strange, smiling faces.  When we were getting ready to move away–from Milwaukee and from each other–we weren’t sure what to do.

Break up the collection, like Hayley Mills’ misguided parents in The Parent Trap?  It seemed too sad.  We contemplated leaving them on a stranger’s door step, or ceremoniously smashing them after one last toast.  Nothing seemed right.

In the end, we couldn’t bear to part with our mini mugs, so we each took our own.  Seven years later, mine have survived moving between Milwaukee and Chicago (twice, because Pro Tip: Moving is Awesome) and then to Minnesota.  They hang out on the top shelf of my favorite glass-doored bookcase, without much to do.

Until this winter.  Mike, his dad, Zoe, and I were sitting around the kitchen table, looking forward to steaming mugs of hot chocolate.  Suddenly, I knew the time had come to bust out a certain novelty seasonal item:

Mini mug and mini sucker. Perfect combination.

So, what did we learn?  Two things, I think:

1. Being weirdly sentimental about seasonal novelty items totally pays off.


2. 99 cents is a small price to pay for so many years of happiness.

What household objects have special meaning for you?

If you’re wondering what inspired my sentimental / nostalgic musings, I will tell you: I’m reading applications for next year’s Lutheran Volunteer Corps!  Look for a post next week all about the wonders of LVC and the folks who are a part of it.



Filed under Marvelous Miscellany, Thankful Hearts

12 responses to “Mini Magic

  1. AT

    I love everything about this post. The Roundy’s picture memory is a particular highlight, and I too am reading LVC applications (or I am supposed to be – maybe I’ll start tomorrow? When are we supposed to have finished that again?). Relatedly, I am attempting this year to maintain one of my oddest traditions: when I announce roller derby in Detroit, I invite current Detroit-area LVC volunteers and subsidize their tickets if they come. Good times.


    • Thanks, AT! I will have to look for that picture–it is one of my favorites.

      I wish I were YOUR second reader, so I could know that my humorously-intended comments were not being misinterpreted. I’m trying to keep myself in check (six down, two to go–not that it’s a contest, but I’m totally winning).

      I imagine you will be busy this summer with things like being a new father, but the rest of us are considering a Dot Day reunion . . .


  2. Katie Streit

    Loving this post with all my heart! I will be breaking out the Easter mini mug soon 🙂


  3. Susan

    Here we all are, reuniting via Maggie’s blog. For some reason I thought the mini-mugs were a post-LVC thing. Just another example of how clueless and distracted I was that year…..
    Loving your blog, Maggie and hoping we can chat sometime, too.


    • Oh, Susan, you had a lot going on that year. A LOT. Although, are you right? I remember taking the bus to get them, but that doesn’t mean it was LVC. Uh oh. Please don’t report me to the blogging authorities.

      Yes, I would love to chat! Maybe tomorrow afternoon or evening? I will give you a try!


  4. kristin

    hi hi hi! here i am, too!
    i think susan might be right! maybe we bought the first one or two sets during LVC, but most of them later on.

    in any case, i, too, love love love this post and all the memories it names! i also remember how exciting it was to read the walgreens ad in the newspaper each sunday, watching for the latest installment in the mini-mug series!


  5. Pingback: Because You’re Worth It | Never Done It That Way Before

  6. Sue

    How did I miss this post??? Let me know whose apps you read and I can tell you if they made it or not!


  7. Pingback: Tastes Like Vacation | Never Done It That Way Before

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s