Convex Mirrors And Yerbamata Tea

By: Shelly Reuben

Convex mirrors and Yerbamata tea

My father’s inventions were not restricted to spools, batteries, metal clasps, and burglar alarms. Oh, no. I can still remember the stash of convex mirrors under the sturdy cardboard boxes and below the gelatin archives; they were tucked into a corner on the floor of the closet and wrapped in the same soft brown paper that seemed to envelop everything else.

Aunt Libby says that when they were new, they were truly beautiful to behold. Even twenty or thirty years past their prime, they were impressive. Each convex mirror was framed in white or gold, with a twist of gold braid to add a touch of elegance to the frame.

Despite my father’s apparent inability to get over the hump that separates prototype from merchandise, his own craftsmanship had apparently so impressed him this time around that he talked Aunt Libby into meeting a buyer at the Marshal Fields Department Store who, knowing a fine product when she saw one, ordered a dozen. Before Marshal Fields could put in a second order, though, my father had already moved on to something else.

For a while, Yerbamata teas held his attention. Decades before the masses had been mesmerized by the siren song of caffeine-free-this and all-natural-that, my father was importing these teas from South America.

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