I’m Part of the Tupperware FamilyPosted: November 16, 2012
By Mary Elliott Raynor from her blog
I got an e-mail from the Tupperware company today, which was an answer to an e-mail I sent them yesterday, after I was putting away some leftovers and mentioning to my husband how I’d had that particular piece of Tupperware since we were newlyweds in Germany, 42 years ago!
“You oughtta write to them and tell them that,” said Glenn, a retired Air Force sergeant, “how your 40-year-old Tupperware is still going strong.”
“Hmmm, Maybe I will,” I said. “I’ll e-mail them.
So I did, and I got a nice e-mail back from them thanking me for taking the time to write and informing me that I am now part of the Tupperware family.
I liked that.
I became a member of the Tupperware family when I was a young military wife, building my home. But, my fascination with Tupperware started when I was very young.
I remember when Tupperware was the newest thing, and my Irish grandmother, whom we called “Mother,” was persuaded to host one of the first Tupperware parties in our area. It was 1963 and I was 10 years old. At that time, the hostess got points toward free stuff for each guest that attended her party, and so Mother in turn persuaded the dealer-lady to count me as one of the guests. “Shure, she can be counted as a little lady,” said Mother, who was quite the bargainer, and the dealer-lady reluctantly agreed to it, so Mother got some more points toward free gifts.
“Thank you for letting me come into your lovely home,” the dealer-lady said to Mother when the party began, and I remember looking around at our still-unfinished kitchen with the dime-store plastic curtains in the windows and thinking, “THIS place?” My first lesson in professional insincerity.
The party progressed, we played silly games, Mother served refreshments, the neighbors bought some of the pink and aqua Tupperware that the dealer-lady demonstrated; Mother got some free bowls for hosting the party. I loved it when we were shown how to burp the bowls to let the air out of them so that our food would fresh forever. What an invention Tupperware was!
Mother bought a set of those little popsicle cups that you filled with juice, set in a tray and put a lid with a stick inserted into the little lid on the top of the cup to make your own ice pops. We tried making them out of everything, not just bug-juice Kool-Aid, but Coca-Cola, chocolate pudding, and iced tea, none of which worked very well, but it was fun experimenting. We ate the popsicles outside and forgot to bring the little tops in again even though Mother yelled at us to remind us, so pretty soon that was the end of homemade ice pops.
My father made fun of Tupperware, which he thought was a waste of money and called it something else which wasn’t very nice, and therefore, unrepeatable. Men just don’t “get” Tupperware.
“My mother loves Tupperware,” said a Jamaican guy that we knew during our Air Force days (they sell this stuff all over the world), “and she’s very picky about what goes into what. Drives my father nuts! Every type of food has to go in the exact thing!”
But, that’s the idea! There’s a Tupperware container for everything. Some of the neatest ones have been phased out, like the ham-keeper, which was shaped just like a ham and was even the same color, but other food-specific things crop up to take their place, like the nifty deviled egg holder.
I hostessed my first Tupperware party at the age of 18 when we were stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army (my husband was in the service twice, Army and Air Force). That was when I first learned that Tupperware was available overseas and I was delighted!
I somehow got hornswaggled into giving my own Tupperware party while at the party of Zelda, a military wife from church, where they really put pressure on you to give a party of your own, and instantly regretted it. Noting my plight, my friend Roober (not her real name), who was older than I, stepped up to the plate and suggested that we give it together and offered her help. I readily agreed.
My husband and I lived in a little German village rather far away from our military installation in Frankfurt, so I had to draw a rather complicated map to my house to give to my friends that I’d invited to my party.
My Tupperware party ended up being fun! Zelda, the lady at whose Tupperware party I had signed up to give my own didn’t attend (of course), but these three officers’ wives from the USAA office where I worked in Frankfurt heard about my party and actually ASKED ME if they could attend. I said, “Sure!” They managed to find their way out to my house, via my map, and they bought a ton of stuff — enough so that Roober and I got several nice gifts (I still have mine)! I had lived through it — my first Tupperware party! I got to show off my apartment, and was now a bona-fide grown-up lady!
Delivering all that Tupperware wasn’t easy, having to drive out to other little German villages to get it to the wives who lived all over the city of Frankfurt, but Roober and I got it done. My husband was proud of me.
Speaking of men not “getting” this homemaker’s dream in plastic, my husband, like my father, thinks Tupperware is pretty silly, too. He really got a kick out of the fact that Tupperware dealers are encouraged to attend company rallies where, after the speeches are done, everybody sings Tupperware songs which are very much like hymns sung at church. We were let in on this little secret by a military wife who used to be a dealer in days past and still hadn’t gotten it out of her system. “You can really keep your food,” she said reverently.
“Tupperware is a false cult,” my husband said to me, laughing, “and you are a cult worshiper of it!”
My husband, when we were stationed with the Air Force stationed in Korea, worked for a Captain who complained about being over there all alone, even though his wife was authorized to come. He couldn’t persuade her to do so. “Why should she leave Oklahoma?” he asked, fuming. “She’s got her own car and a kitchen full of Tupperware!”
The Captain’s wife could have brought her Tupperware with her to Korea. I wouldn’t have made it in that country without it. Tupperware is light and therefore easy to ship, and once I was in-country I quickly learned that to protect our food from the insecticide-resistant cockroaches that permanently resided in buildings inhabited by Americans (they originally came over in our packing crates; Koreans insisted that cockroaches were unknown in their country before Americans got there), I had to seal it up in Tupperware — even the unopened boxes of macaroni and cheese. But, I digress…
My husband finally began to rever Tupperware when he became aware of their cereal-storers. I bought one at a party once, and he, after seeing how easy it was to keep and pour cereal with it, made me buy several more.
“I told you this stuff is great!”
I tried to impress him further with the testimony of a Tupperware dealer who kept a package of brown sugar in her brown-sugar-storer (you have to have the exact thing) for twenty years with nary a lump (she showed it to us), but…
“Get more cereal storers,” was all he had to say to that.
Tupperware was available in England, too, and I attended a party or two on base when we were stationed there. By then, it had become quite expensive. I bought it anyway, adding to my collection, because it was convenient for taking sandwiches, salads and baked goods to the get-togethers that we military families stationed overseas hosted so often. Since we were so far away from our families, our military friends became our families, and we shared Thanksgivings and Christmases together. Whenever I think back on those military days, I remember the holiday dinners, pot-lucks and baby showers, always served with Tupperware on the table.
I have not attended a Tupperware party in years, and wonder if they even still have them, but they must, because they are listed in the phone book; however, today’s young ladies just don’t seem interested in the wonderful plastic stuff. It’s super pricey these days, like I said, at $17 for one cereal-storer. And so, I’ve forgone home demonstration parties and have started buying my Tupperware in yard sales and thrift shops, where it can be purchased for a fraction of the cost.
All those expensive items that looked so useful at the party ended up being more trouble than they were worth, especially when you had to look all over the kitchen for the parts, and so, out in the yard sale they go, for pennies, and come home it, beaming with pride.
“You’re running a Tupperware Rescue Mission!” my husband laughed, mocking me: “Oh,” he said in a girly voice, “this poor Tupperware, sitting all alone in the yard sale and here comes my wife to rescue it and give it a home!”
“Go ahead and laugh,” I said, “it’s good stuff and now I know how to get it for cheap!”
Sometimes I think I have every item Tupperware ever made, and while, no, I don’t worship the stuff, I do find it useful and like it very much, which is why I wrote to the company and told them so. (I didn’t tell them that I’ve started buying their products in yard sales. I’m not stupid.)
I think companies like Rubbermaid have given Tupperware a run for their money in recent years. Why spend all that money on a pyramid scheme product and go to all the trouble of giving a party? I suppose that makes sense, but I really miss those home demonstrations and the ladylike atmosphere they created as we housewives sat around and dreamed of the perfectly organized home with food that never went bad; besides, Rubbermaid, the competition, isn’t a family like Tupperware is! Anybody have a ham keeper they’d like to sell?