::How I'm Related to Ball Jars::

So we all love us some vintage aqua Ball jars, yeah?

Like seriously adore that perfect shade of aqua and their galvanized zinc lids.  I want to marry them.

I thought it might be interesting to share a bit of my history as it collided with those jars because, well, I have connections.

I didn't recognize my connections until my adult life.  Growing up with my mom storing everything in them from vintage buttons on her sewing table to beans and elbow macaroni in the pantry, those lovelies were just part of my upbringing.

I didn't really appreciate them until I had a family of my own and mostly out from under the demands of nursing babies and homeschooling. You know, when I could actually spend some time decorating the digs instead of wiping noses and cleaning the digs....

Connection #1: When I graduated high school in Noblesville IN, I went off in high hopes as a vocal performance major to Ball State University in Muncie IN.  Did ya know those Ball boys had a college named after them?....incoming indoctrinees were told the Ball bro's gave the city the teaching college as a gift back in the day.  My husband and I spent our first 3 years of married life on that campus, and my sister also graduated from Ball State with a teaching degree.  It's still considered one of the best teacher colleges in the country.  As a kid, my family actually lived in Muncie for a few years right next to Ball State U and my brother was born at Ball Memorial Hospital!

Connection #2: Fast forward to the turn of the millenia, and my uncle is named President and CEO of Alltrista (dropped both the 'B' from Ball and the "Minne" from the street name the Balls lived on in Muncie)...which aquired the Ball Co.  Their consumer products business sold home canning and related products, primarily under the Ball®, Kerr®and Bernardin®brands.  And yet, I wasn't hording those seaglass-like beauties yet.  I was still drowing in dried milk-stained blouses and grammar worksheets.

(circa 2001, with a 16 year old at one end, a 2 week old at the other and lots of kiddos in between!)

My uncle has now retired to Florida, and Alltrista is now yet another company called Jardin or somesuch.  They sell plastic food storage now too.  Too late for an 'in' I suppose. I'm not sure they're even in Muncie anymore.  *shrug*

By the time I decided I was in serious love with vintage Ball jars (and they must say 'Ball' on the side, mind you), I couldn't find them easily.  I'd pick up a chipped one separated from its lid at a thrift store now and then, but that's it.  The big ones, the really old ones were seriously out of reach.  'Round these parts (I live an hour or so north of Muncie now), a decent aqua gallon size jar with an original lid will run ya $40 or more.  My brother, a resident of Nashville TN and the aforementioned babe who entered the world at Ball Memorial, picks 'em up for me for a mere $10 at their world famous Flea Market.

(My bro Adam -being kissed-also happens to be Mumford and Sons booking agent...
told ya I had connections.  This pic was taken just after filming "I Will Wait" at Red Rocks CO)

If you're ever in central Indiana, and you want to know more about the Ball family and their glassy offspring, it might be worth your time to visit the Minnestrista Cultural Center:

"Minnetrista, "a gathering place by the water," takes its name from the original F.C. Ball home that once stood on this site.  This name applies now more than ever as Minnetrista keeps this name alive through programming, workshops, and exhibits. " (from their site)

Now that my Mom is gone, my sis and I are splitting her collection.  But their value to me will be far more than just pretty eye candy for my vintage-loving heart.  They'll represent a childhood hometown, baby brothers, college years and early married life, extended family connections no longer nearby, and the humble service they rendered to my mother as they stored the raw materials of homemaking.

I love when something I collect has real meaning....and now you all know why vintage aqua blue Ball canning jars are one of my LOVES.  They will always play a prominent role in my decor because they play a prominent roll in my life and history as a Hoosier from central Indiana.

And that's my story of how I'm basically related to Ball jars.  So it's like we really are married.

Do you have significant connections to vintage items you collect?  Do tell....

Sharing this with A Favorite Thing @ Mockingbird Hill Cottage


Renee said...

I love Ball jars. I use them for canning, too (not the antique ones). Sometimes I end up with some Kerr and Golden Harvest but the Ball are my favorites.

Enjoyed your post.

Nancy said...

Fascinating! Ball jars are beautiful. I had some centennial jars with the lids and metal clamps that I think I gave to my daughter cause she was born in '76.
I need to see if she still has them.

Cassie Bustamante said...

really sweet! and can i tell you i don't know how much more i digested after i saw you are connected to mumford & sons? sorry- i stalled out there. ;)

auntp said...

I couldn't help but smile at the picture of your family during the homeshooling/nursing baby phase since I have pictures of our family that look so similar:) Oh, what a long way we have come since those days! I have always loved Ball jars and still enjoy using them mostly for food storage. They make the most ordinary brown rice look decorative!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

This is a great post! I love the old blue Ball jars and your story is fascinating. Love how you are so 'related'!! Fun post and beautiful photos. Nice to know your Mom's collection will be treasured by you and your sister.


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Cindy, I think this is just fascinating! I loved learning more about Ball Jars and your connection with them. I didn't know that the college was named for the same Balls. Neat! And i love how you used them with the tulips. That is so pretty.

I collect a lot of things, but my number one thing is china. My grandmother took china painting at finishing school in the 1800's (she was much, much older than I), and I have some of her pieces in my collection. They are super special to me. I also have parts of a set that belonged to her mother and some Old Paris that is even older that came from the family. I have a strong appreciation for family memories and keepsakes. My other grandmother made homemade crabapple jelly, so seeing those ball jars really hit home with me.

Dropping by from Claudia's. Enjoyed the visit!



Three Birds Inspired said...

I collect white vintage ironstone...mostly English. I started because I received two pieces of my grandmother's ironstone from my aunt after my grandmother passed. Now the collection has taken on a life of its own and my children are afraid that I am turning into a hoarder. (Silly children!)
Oh - those wonderful old blue Ball jars with the zinc lids? My sister has been collecting since she was a very young bride. She has them from very large to very small. Somedays I am jealous! :)

JCDiTaranto said...

What a great post! My daughter gave me a Ball jar wine glass for Christmas, but I never even realized there were aqua ones. I'm not a collector, but I love a great tour through someone else's collection. Yours was lots of fun!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Enjoy reading about your connection with Ball jars. I use to have several that I stored different items in, but think I have passed the last of them along to daughter, etc.
Thanks for stopping by and nice comment. Enjoy your weekend.

Nancy said...

I found your post very interesting, Cindy. My husband and I have quite a collection and we were using them to can our veggies until I saw how much they were worth and decided we'd better not do that!

Visiting from A Favorite Thing Saturday.

Claudia said...

What a great post, Cindy! You are indeed related to Ball jars! I have 3 or 4 of them and love them. My connection to Ball State? In high school our production of The Bald Soprano won first prize at the State Thespian Convention and we were invited to Ball State to perform it at the Indiana State Thespian Convention. So, I've been there, too!

I'm so glad you joined in this week!


Heather Lee said...

This was such an enjoyable post for me! My husband works at Ball State! We moved to the area about 3 years ago,("Alex") and we've just loved being here. Thank you for all of the great info about Ball history. You have such a great talent for decorating, and it's great to know the sweet connection the Ball jars have for you.


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