Okay, while I have a million topics to cover and I need to write my annual Cunningham letter, I found a tangent I must go off on.
For years, I have wondered why certain punch cups say “Tom and Jerry” on them. Have you ever seen those? Okay, I’m the only one. I will describe them. When I was young, we would get the Lillian Vernon catalog close to the holiday time and it would have reindeer doorknockers and Santa’s beard Christmas card holders and all sorts of novelty items for Christmas. And it would always have a big punch bowl and cups that said “Tom and Jerry” on the side. I thought these were personalized cups that you could have your own names put on. But then I would see them in other catalogs and they always said “Tom and Jerry.” Not really too many couples named Tom and Jerry in this world and if you wanted to show off the personalization, why would you put the names of popular cartoon characters? It sort of is distracting. Years go by and I wonder about this each Christmas. Then I would go to garage sales and antique stores and see punch cups with Tom and Jerry on the side. It obviously was somehow associated with these cups, but why?
Tonight, I found out. I am so relieved to find out the meaning behind these cups that I’ve wondered about for over 30 years.
I’m doing lots of online family research. I got off on yet another tangent and started reading about the founding of Denton County, Texas where my Hallford (or Holford to them) relatives were among the first settlers in 1846. This history is old to begin with, but they are talking about things that are very old and it says, “In 1857, the county seat was changed to Denton. [to celebrate] ‘Tom and Jerry,’ a mixed drink, was made and served.” Â 1857??? Really? Before there were cartoons, there was already Tom and Jerry. So I consult Wikipedia, who some deride, but it is a wealth of knowledge. And it has an entry for a Tom and Jerry. It was created in 1820 by a writer in England who wrote a book, and then a stage play came from it called “Tom and Jerry or Life in London.” Â To popularize the book and the play, the writer created a new drink, a variation of eggnog, that was served hot and had a bit of brandy added to the nog. It became wildly popular and became “a traditional Christmas drink.” A drink I’d never heard of.
I am a HUGE fan of eggnog. I also love the milk punch they serve at Green Pastures. Yum. This Christmas I will have to remember to experiment and try a Tom and Jerry.
And I got another great genealogy comment/email! I love these connections that my blog and web pages are bringing me. This woman is probably a fourth cousin. I sent her my phone number and hope she calls me tonight. I have her number, but I have a no-late-night calls policy. Hopefully, since I gave her permission, she won’t worry about her own late-night-calls rule.