Where did the name Mabel Opal Pear come from?

Before she even had a proper name, I knew her nickname was Moppet. I tried quite a few variations of names with the initials MOP before Mabel Opal Pear stuck.


Well then, where did the nickname Moppet come from?

Moppet comes from the stories by Beatrix Potter. Moppet has her own book, The Story of Miss Moppet, and she also appears in The Tale of Tom Kitten. I loved the books as a child and my mother gave me a beautiful set when my first child was born. My mom may have also called me Moppet sometimes.

Why a spoon museum?

My grandmother Amelie actually had a collection of collectable spoons from all over the US. Nowhere near a thousand and most weren’t sterling silver. However, she had a kitchen drawer full of them. Most were presents from her relatives when they travelled around the United States. Collecting spoons really was a thing people did back then (whenever “back then” was). When I was a kid, she’d let me order the spoons into sets of cities, states, and events. She also taught me to polish the silver ones.

Mabel and Stanley wander around the foothills of Mt. Rainier. Did you do that type of exploring as a kid?

I gave Mabel something I lack—a sense of direction. I can get lost anywhere. Seriously—anywhere. My brothers once took me around the block from our house when I was little. It took me forever (and a kind neighbor) to get home.

My father used to take us camping a lot when I was a kid. My brothers could pretty much go off on their own to explore. They could canoe on their own or hike on their own. I always had to stay with one of them when leaving the campground. Yes, the same brothers who found it hilarious to leave me in our New Orleans neighborhood were responsible for me in the national parks and forests of Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. To their credit, they never did leave me in the woods by myself.

However, there was one place that I was allowed to wander about by myself—my grandmother’s place in the Virginia countryside. She had twenty acres outside of Fork Union, VA. It was marvelous—trees and creeks, rolling hills and hay fields. I could go anywhere as long as I brought Pudding, her black lab with me. Pudding, who was not trained at all and had delusions of being a lap dog (all sixty pounds of her), would stay near me all day until I said, “home.” Then, she’d lead me back to my grandmother’s house.

Now with built-in GPS and Google maps on phones, I travel with confidence.

What are these animals on the photo?

These are Marmots and they live on Mt. Rainier. Just like Mabel, but she doesn't whistle as much.