Monday, December 26, 2016

A 'Sea Glass Origin'

The year was 1750 and it was a cold crisp morning in early Spring. As the life giving breath was blown down the tube, the cylindric shape began to form. Slowly rotating, then rotating again, the disk was growing in size until it was just thick enough to hold its shape. The glass blower was one of the
best to be found in the region and he was proud of his craft. No one could make a such a large piece of glass as thin as he could. Taught by his father, and his father before him, people would travel from far away to buy his glass. After the glass was cut, cooled and polished, it rested against a rough homespun blanket while the maker sat on a cast off log to eat his small meal of a thick slice of ham and a chunk of brown bread. The glass looked at the man and the clearing beyond, staring in admiration at the stately trees that surrounded them. It wondered what he would become. Would he be a window for this workshop? For the small house lying in the distance?

About a week later a wagon arrived. Strong men picked up the large pane of glass and carefully nestled it in a large wooden crate made from the same Black Forest firewood that fed the flames which had liquefied the glass to make it malleable. The box was packed with dried grass to cushion every side so that even the most jarring movement would protect it from harm. The wagon slowly rambled down the road and made its way down to the Kammel where the crate was loaded onto a river boat, and after a long leisurely cruise, it was taken off the boat and then loaded onto a much larger, ocean going Merchantman. Deep down in the hold, the crate was secured with many other beautiful items from the Danube. Blue and white pottery from Meissen, fine wool and other 'luxury' items were bound for the New World while raw materials would make the return trip home. Where was he going? Where would he end up?

When the ship landed at the port of Philadelphia about two months later, it was a fine sunny morning. It seemed to take a week to unload all of the cargo and when the crate was finally pried open, and the grass and dust wiped away, the finely dressed American stood back and admired the pane of glass. In
fact, several onlookers cautiously cast a sideways glance as no one had seen such a large pane of glass before. The glass was re-crated and drawn again by wagon to its new home on Portland Poynt. It remained crated until it was finally freed and carefully framed in by the finest woodworkers in the town and then topped by a beautiful pediment. The glass faced the ocean and would spend its days lazily gazing at the sea and was lovingly washed almost daily as the salt spray would frequently mist it's clarity. Townspeople would stop and admire the large window on their afternoon walks as it was quite an unusual thing to have a large window in the front of a house at that time. The glass stood proud to have made the owners so happy.

The house stood for almost 152 years and during this time it saw families come and go and suffered through foreclosures and additions and remodels. One year a rock was thrown at the glass and cracked its once shiny surface. 1927 saw a new need for the property and it was zoned for commercial use. The dilapidated house was torn down to make way for a store and the once beautiful window was unceremoniously disposed of by being thrown off the cliff into the ocean below along with what ever else was not salvageable. The glass crashed down into a million pieces and was washed away in the outgoing tide. The glass was sad. Was this to be its ultimate fate? Tumbling endlessly along the ocean floor?

Years passed and one day in the early 1980's, a young man was walking along the Jersey Shore. He had been having a hard time lately and just wanted to be alone and think. Wandering almost
aimlessly along the sandy beach, stopping only to look up and watch the strong surf crash onto the beach, he happened upon a strange looking stone. It was a frosted white color and he marveled on how smooth and warm it felt in his hands. When he stooped down to wash it off in the seawater, he noticed how it glinted strangely in the sunlight. Somehow, just holding it made him feel better. He pocketed the sea glass, wondering where it might have come from, not knowing that it had been that beautiful pane of glass, carefully and lovingly made in a forest in Germany. He displayed the piece of sea glass on a prominent spot on his mantel to be admired by family and friends. The glass, albeit smaller, was once again happy knowing that he brought joy to a new set of people for many years to come.

Jewel Blog Sig photo Jewel Sig_zpsoi88flxw.png
sources: Antique Window GlassHistory of Glass Making in Lausha GermanyBlue and White PotteryPassage To AmericaAtlantic HighlandsGeorgian House Styles

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  1. What a lovely story about sea glass! I love how you can try to imagine the history behind each piece of sea glass you find on the beach - where it has been, what purpose it served etc.

    1. I am glad you liked it! It was something new that I wanted to try as there are 100 sites that tell you where sea glass comes from, but none that put it into story format. It was fun for me to do and I look forward to doing more.
      Thanks for the feedback!

  2. A reminder that many things have a huge history we know nothing about, a history of love and beauty.

    1. You are right Deb! People often overlook that refuse once had another life before it ended up where it was found.
      Thank you for visiting!