When asked if they use the steins they
collect, most collectors will say they use a few, but perhaps only on special
occasions or with special guests. Of course, there are a few collectors who feel
that there is no point in owning a stein if it is not available for use, and a
large number, probably the majority, who would echo the sentiments first
expressed in this article by Patrick J. Clarke, Jr. which appeared in Prosit in
June of 1979 -
I've lived home for years trying, like most younger family members try, to
stay out of their parents' hair and hoping, with different degrees of success,
to keep peace. Unfortunately the achievement of peace means that mom and dad
haven't found out a bit about what happened over the weekend or... they know
every-single-possible-last detail. (The latter rules 99%.)
Living with stein collecting maniacs has not made survival any easier. My
parents have turned the house into an antique shop from which nothing leaves but
as sure as God gave Musterschutz the turnip, he has given this poor
house's walls an almost endless supply of steins to bear.
Whenever my folks leave on another mission of
purchase I sit in the kitchen and stare up at the walls filled with shelf after
shelf of old time drinking cups - all different - big and small - dazzling and
plain. I try to decide which giant I'm going to fill with the two eight-packs of
Budweiser nips I've just bought. Should I steal the huge White Knight from its
locked cabinet or maybe just satisfy my fantasy with a full liter guzzled down
from the Black Forest?
|The Knight on a White Horse,
designed by H. Schlitt, was produced in three sizes - 5.8 L (#2764), 1.0 and 0.5
Photo credit: Villeroy & Boch
I'm rummaging through the drawer where the key to the cabinets are hidden
beneath some old birthday cards; my hands shake as I turn the lock, slide the
glass doors open and suddenly my head clears.
"You must be INSANE!!!!"
I squeak the doors shut, look around and hope the dead engravers responsible
for these steins had not been watching: they surely would have damaged me beyond
the repair capabilities of the Murphy-Fox prestige.
Sometimes my folks leave for a weekend. Naturally word spreads amongst my
alcoholic friends that the Clarke house has got no adults governing the
property; I'm never one to ignore the chance to blast the rock & roll and
have a good loud bunch of friends over to raise the roof, but since my house has
turned more museum than living quarters, I've become hesitant about who I let
enter the door. Of course I had to learn the hard way.
Pete was O.K. until beer invaded his mind. Since Mettlach steins were
originally designed to hold German beers, Pete would always show up with a
six-pack of imported Lowenbrau and insist he have his own stein. It didn't
matter which, so I gave him a cheap one like the kind used as a pencil-pen
holder for a desk. One night after putting eight full liters in a stomach only
filled with popcorn, Pete decided he didn't like the one he had; he wanted one
with all the nice drawings of medieval characters etched around its body.
I wasn't watching Pete or anybody else when suddenly I saw him holding something
|The Boar Hunt cameo stein in 1.0
Photo credit: Villeroy & Boch
"What's that you got?" My voice cracked with terror!!!
He bolted from the room and out the front door like a leopard after
something in the bush. I chased him down the street; he ran singing and skipping
and chugging long drinks of beer but he didn't have his pencil-pen holding stein
anymore - instead he gripped between his slippery beer-wet fingers my father's
precious and treasured Boar Hunt!
I cornered him against a tree and after five minutes of begging and
pleading, almost to the point where I collapsed with both knees on the street,
did he return the stein back into my cold sweat-soaked hands.
I went back to the house inspecting the stein all the way to make sure
nothing had happened and thank God nothing did - I washed and dried the
Mettlach, carefully returned it to its proper place on the dining room shelf and
have never had another party since.
(Father's note: I don't know about the rest of the story, but the last
phrase of the last sentence is totally fiction!)
The late Patrick J. Clarke, Sr. was one of the
early members of SCI and he served as Treasurer from 1978 to 1988. He was
awarded the Jack Heimann Service Award in 1985.