Last week, Colin and Nancy Campbell came to my back door to see our new home one cold and dark evening. I had been making a chicken with wild rice and found out that all my children had made other fun plans with their friends and I thought it would be fun to see if they would like to eat my dinner with us. They ended up accepting the offer but had to go home to stoke their fire to keep their home nice and warm.
While they were tending their fire, I started to have a fun time taking out my table cloth and setting the most beautiful china on the table with candles and everything special. The china was from my Grandma Julia, my mothers mother. I have to tell you the story of how I acquired these dishes…
Just before Mark and I were married, I went to visit Grandma. She asked if I could please take these boxes off to the thrift store. One such box had these beautiful dishes in it. I asked her why she would give these dishes away and what was the story behind the pretty china. She began to share with me about how she collected each piece during the depression. At the super market, since many people at that time had difficulty affording groceries, they offered an incentive. If you purchased a certain amount of groceries, you would be offered one piece of this lovely set of china. She ended up collecting a full place setting for 4!!! It never was enough to set the table for her growing family, so all those years went by with these pretty dishes untouched just sitting in her cupboard. Never did she know that her youngest granddaughter would one day use them to grace her table for years to come and that they would soon become a story to share for generations to come!
I quickly asked her if she would be willing to give this old box of dishes to me as my wedding gift instead of just to the thrift store where it would be sold to an unknown person who may not appreciate their value. She graciously agreed and I was one happy bride to have this special set. All the crystal glasses were given to us by his father as a wedding gift as well and then the other crystal glasses came in sets of two for Christmas gifts in later years. What a gift that keeps on giving!
This setting for four quickly outgrew our growing family until one day…
After I was married, my mother and I visited an antique store. We were walking around admiring all the beautiful artifacts of years past when we came upon a lone box in a corner filled with another place setting of 4!!! She immediately snatched it up for us as a house warming gift and we then had a setting for 8!!!! Later I found the tea pot, sugar and creamer at an Amish store of all places and collected those pieces. It will one day be an heirloom that will be passed onto one of my daughters. The other China set that is on the hutch is over a 100 years old from England. It came from my father’s grandmother. She brought it on the boat traveling to this country and perhaps on a train as well that carried her and her growing family to Wisconsin where they all settled. I love hearing stories about where things came from.
There is so much mystery attached to each piece that beckons a story or two. I wonder what all these precious people used them for. Were they taken out only for Thanksgiving, or on a special holiday? Were they displayed or tucked away for many years? Perhaps, my Great Grandmother had tea parties with her family in England and they were planning the long voyage to America over a cup of British Tea. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall. I know my Dad’s Mother would always have this china out for Thanksgiving all my growing up years. It survived to this day so I can display it and use it for such holidays as my ancestors also did. What fun. I have two sets of heirloom China and two beautiful daughters to pass them along to.
Nancy and Colin came over dressed in their finest and we had a beautiful candlelit dinner together. It was so regal. We dined like we were aristocrats. I served the meal in four pleasant courses, one by one and we savored every drop of this spur of the moment lovely occasion. I love how we can make something special out of something old and preciously tucked away for many years in my grandmothers cupboard.