My friend Lois grew up in the thick of Logan Square, one of Marv’s old neighborhoods, and he likely would have known exactly the building where her family had their sheet metal shop and apartment. If he had visited her Madison home, Marv would certainly have recognized the tiny 1920s kitchen of his youth where, amidst original cabinets and lights, Lois serves me tea, selected from the Wall of Tea Tins.
Marv cultivated friends who, like Lois, could find joy in the beauty of cheap (free) things that others overlooked. I can easily imagine his reaction to the variety and number of tea tins crowding shelves clear up to the ceiling. Right away, the distinctive red treasure chest, a battered old Zvetouchny tin, would have caught his attention. “Oh my, oh my…,” he would have chanted, as astonished as if magician had just pulled a gold coin from behind his very own ear, perhaps punctuating this phrase with a little chuckle. “That’s an old one, a really old one.”
We would have had tea, playing Guess That Corner, as displaced Chicagoans are wont to do, and maybe he would have told Lois why Zvetouchny (“The Aristocrat of Teas”) was so special to him, a story which, sadly, I do not know. In the quiet kitchen, surrounded by nothing more than a breeze through the open windows, and neighborhood friendship, Marv would have feasted on two pleasures he prized above almost anything else – laughter, and plenty of hot, black tea.