An Unintended Trip to the Spice Market

Recollections’ Spice Market Card Stock Collection

Recollections’ Spice Market Card Stock Collection

According to Retrospace’s article “Fads #5: A Bad Time for Those Not Colorblind,” in the 1970s there was “a very defined set of colors during this period (rust, brick, sand, brown, gold and orange) that colored almost everything in our world.”

I hated those colors. Our house growing up was dark anyway, and the “trending” colors in the 1970s just made it worse. The wall-to-wall carpet was dark brown, one toilet was avocado and the other was gold, our Coleman pop-up camper model (“The Valley Forge”) was pumpkin, and I should mention here that at one time, my parents’ monochrome scheme for the walls was olive.

02 72-AprilKristiwithPlasticBunny

Defining the 1970s: I’m not kidding about everything in our house falling under the Harvest Color Scheme. Jeez, even the plastic Easter Bunny I got when I was a year old was avocado green.

This extended to just about everything in the house, especially the Tupperware. All the rage at the time were Tupperware’s “Harvest” Colors: mustard yellow, pea green, pumpkin, and brown. These colored everything from bowls and spice shakers to tumblers. My mother had an idea: there were four kids, and the tumbler set had four colors. Therefore, if you wanted a drink, you used your corresponding colored Tupperware tumbler to accomplish the task (this was an excellent way to tell whose glass was whose when we inevitably left them all over the house). But even better, if you wanted a drink and your glass was dirty, it was your responsibility to wash it first (or drink out of it dirty, which I’m sure my brothers did at least once or twice). Genius. Even though the woman had four kids, she probably hardly ever washed a drinking glass.

03 1970sTupperwareTumblersSpiceMarket

The infamous 1970s Tupperware 6-oz. tumblers.

I spent years married to the mustard yellow, Chuck to the pumpkin, Missie to the pea green, and Chip to the brown. There were some unhappy times in that house, so you cannot imagine my thrill when Dad was gone and we had to clean out the place to sell it. I defy anyone to express more joy over throwing stuff away than I did.

Fast forward to our upcoming wedding. When choosing the color scheme, I wanted to go with earth tones because they’d integrate with our theme as well as Howe Caverns. I was thrilled when I found Recollections’ Spice Market Collection and happily set about making my thank-you notes, programs, invitations, table cards and all sorts of related ephemera, patting myself on the back for how pretty everything looked.

Then one day I was on the phone with my friend Michele. I don’t know how we got on the subject, but suddenly it struck me that the wedding colors I’d chosen were those of the Tupperware tumblers I’d so desperately wanted out of my life.

04 1970sTupperwareTumblersSpiceMarket mustard

Mustard Yellow: Menu Cards, Programs

05 1970sTupperwareTumblersSpiceMarket Pumpkin

Pumpkin: Short Story Covers

06 1970sTupperwareTumblersSpiceMarket green

Pea Green: RSVPs, Table Title Cards

07 1970sTupperwareTumblersSpiceMarket brown

Brown: Thank-You Notes, Save-the-Date Slipcovers, Table Title Cards

As much as I couldn’t believe it—I honestly hadn’t been aware that’s what I’d done—it made sense. Those colors might have defined the everyday drudgery and sad times, but what I associate with them now are the happier moments in my childhood: the camping trips and the birthday parties, the summers at our camp in theAdirondacksand picnics on the beach. Of course I’d want those colors present on my wedding day.

So, apparently, you can take the girl out of the 70s—but you can never take the 70s out of the girl, and now that I think about it, I’m missing those tumblers. There was a set going for $3.99 on Ebay, so of course, I bought them.

So did my sister, actually, when I made her aware of their existence. She said: “Great. So in, like, a month I’ll have eight f’n ugly cups. Maybe I can take one of the green ones and burn it on the bottom dishwasher coil so it’ll feel like it’s really mine.”


08 Ebay tupperware arrives

My set of 1970s tumblers arrives on April 18 (creepy, actually, that’s the anniversary of my mother’s death).

09 1970sTupperwareTumblersSpiceMarket 2

Another shot of the tumblers.

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