Thursday, March 14, 2013

Reading Turkish Coffee Cups in Springfield, Massachusetts

Whenever company came visiting to our home on Dearborn Street in Springfield, my sisters were sent into the kitchen to prepare Turkish coffee.  [Cup reading often happened in the afternoons, when only women were visiting.  My sisters would come home from school and there would be a group of women  sitting in the living room.  . . . ] After preparing the coffee in the jezveh, they would  fill the tiny cups to the brim, and place them on a special tray, making sure there was a bit of foam on the top of each cup.  One sister would carefully carry the tray from the kitchen into the living room, her eyes on the cups as she walked. (My mother had warned them -- don't look anywhere, just look at the cups as you're walking).  My sisters would serve each of the old ladies (they seemed old to me -- I was only four)  from that tray, the thick sweet brew in the smaller than demitasse straight-sided cups and saucers, cups highly decorative with oriental designs in gold and blue and red filigree.  The oldest lady in the room (usually Digin Mayry) would wait patiently until everybody in the room had finished sipping the brew and, turning the cups towards them, had placed the cups rim side down into the saucers.  Waiting a bit (for the coffee sediments to dry) as they chatted, the suspense was soon too much, and they would lift the cups from the saucers, handles to the right, turning the cups away from them as they lifted, and place the cups rim downward. (They never tried to read their own cups!) Digin Mayry, or the oldest lady in the room, would then take each cup in turn, and read the fortune of the lady whose cup she had in her hand. "You will have visitors."  "You will be taking a trip."  "You will be getting a letter."  And after World War II, "You're getting a letter AND it's coming by airmail -- see the wing there?"  And finally, as the cup's owner waited with bated breath, "I see someone who lives far away . . . s/he looks well."   The readings were always similar, and the participants always relieved that there was never any bad news. (Above remembered by Marash Boy) 


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