Place item was collected
Manuel "Manny" Rivera
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Manny Rivera is my dad. He is 61 years old and has worked at FedEx for 40 years. He currently resides in Riverton, UT with my mom, my younger brother, and my younger sister. He grew up in a poor, dominantly Mexican neighborhood in Mesa, Arizona with his 12 siblings.
My dad’s first marriage was to a woman named Debbie, who is the mother of my two older half-siblings. They divorced when my dad was 31 years old and relocated to Salt Lake after the divorce. “The White Spatula” as my family calls it, is simply a cooking tool that has always been in our house, present at every church cookoff, every family gathering, and every Saturday morning breakfast. I had never known the story behind The White Spatula until Thanksgiving of this year when my dad claimed that the spatula was “the only thing [he’d] gotten from the split.” The spatula, which should have bitter memories attached, is now a familiar household object. My mom replied, “it’s also the only thing you brought when we got married.” My dad had sold all of his furniture and my mom had brought all of her cooking supplies to the marriage, save for The White Spatula, which was solely my dad’s contribution.
My parents associated pride with the spatula as if the spatula represented a successful marriage born from the ashes of a failed one. I knew that the spatula was an important item in our household, but I never understood why. My parents both laughed in the exchange about the item. I doubt that they’ll ever get rid of it.
Semester and year
G8: Objects with/of Customary Use
Rivera, Josephine, "“The White Spatula”" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 314.