My first memory of coffee is its rich aroma drifting through the dark house early in the morning, mingled with the smell of pancakes browning in the cast iron skillet. Daddy was almost out the door, lunch bucket in hand, breakfast under his belt. My sister Jean's alarm jingled, faintly through the walls. I snuggled deeper, dreading the inevitable routine of rise and shine.
Mom's coffee-making changed when daddy's bachelor brothers from St. Louis, young mavens of retailing, brought us a new coffee contraption. It had two glass globes one on top of the other. Placed over the flame, it drew boiling water upward, magically turning it into coffee, then releasing it back with a hiss into the bottom pot. I'm not sure how long it lasted as new ways are hard to adopt and the old aluminum percolator worked fine.
It was a mystery to me why anyone would drink the bitter stuff and it wasn't until I was a freshman at college with 8AM classes that I discovered the wonder of coffee. Studio art classes were held in a drafty basement, led by scary professors indoctrinating fresh, innocent recruits into the big, confusing world of higher education. I was half-asleep from the boredom of the ride on city bus, the third of three I took to get to school. The class began when the lights dimmed and a lady reading in the corner, dropped her robe, hopped naked onto a raised pedestal in the center of the room and struck a pose. Numb from cold and shock at seeing someone so casual about not being dressed in front of strangers, both boys and girls, I got to work and was soon engrossed in laying down and linking large soft shapes in charcoal on the paper. Classes were three, maybe four hours long with a break midway. We all meandered into the hallway and plunked our quarters into the coffee machine. Sitting on the concrete floor blowing into our cups, the steam began to thaw our noses while backsides drew dampness from the bare concrete floor. We drank what was in our cups; coffee with cream(?), tea, muddy cocoa or sometimes tepid, tan water. Little did we know a lifetime habit was being set into motion and would be repeated at the student union as often as possible.
Bobbin-olive's soon to be available, Your First Cup of Coffee is the perfect journal for you to write about your entry into the grown-up world of coffee. Dredging up those memories is not only fun, but for some a record of simpler times. Don't wait, get your memories dusted off and begin writing them down.