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NPR Arts & Life

An NPR Mug Mystery

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We have a story now about your stuff and what can happen when you give it away. Here's MORNING EDITION producer Catherine Whelan with the story of her favorite mug.

CATHERINE WHELAN, BYLINE: So I found this mug at work. It turns out NPR reporter Colin Dwyer first brought it into the building in 2013 during his internship.

COLIN DWYER, BYLINE: I came across it in the cupboard of a house that I was living in - and it was one of those Craigslist situations.

WHELAN: Colin's best guess is that a former housemate must have bought it at a thrift store.

DWYER: This plain old white mug that just said, I went to Jonathan Katzer's (ph) bar mitzvah in 2003.

WHELAN: I had to know more. Who is Jonathan Katzer? I tracked him down with his father Ron (ph), who created the mug.

RON: September 16, 2003, was Hurricane Isabel, and we lost power for a week.

WHELAN: So they needed a new venue for the bar mitzvah.

RON: The local church had a very nice pastor who offered their social hall.

WHELAN: Ron printed 250 mugs as favors, but only 120 people came. So Jonathan says they then had a surplus of mugs to get rid of.

JONATHAN KATZER: Which my dad gave to, essentially, every human who entered our house for the next 10 years.

KATZER: You a little bit exaggerate.

WHELAN: The mugs got around.

KATZER: In college, I guess I got invited to a friend of a friend of a friend's party, and I found - I went to Jonathan Katzer's bar mitzvah mug in the person's cabinet.

WHELAN: And somehow, now one of those mugs lives on my desk at NPR. I imagine a bar mitzvah I never went to, and our reporter Colin who first brought the mug to NPR does, too.

DWYER: I just picture a bunch of really awkward seventh graders and some really awkward dancing.

WHELAN: As for Jonathan...

KATZER: I actually realized I don't have one in my apartment in New York.

WHELAN: He can't have mine. Catherine Whelan, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.