Wednesday, September 17, 2014

12 dinner plates, 12 lunch plates, and a small perfect bowl.

I began married life with a service for 8, melmac, white with a single rose curling around the plate.  My choice.  I loved it.  I also had 8 lovely crinkle glasses, a hand-embroidered tablecloth sewn by my grandmother, both gifts.  While I waited for Roy to return from his  WESPAC cruise (he was on a navy aircraft carrier with a paid trip to Japan and China), I collected silverware from the local gas station - one piece of silverware with every fill up.  I had service for 8 in stainless steel.  I also had a silver service for 8 with double teaspoons - a wedding gift, but we rarely used it.

12 dinner plates, 12 lunch plates and a small perfect bowl.

It was enough.   I was pleased with it.  I didn't long for china.  I longed for choice and I had it.

I did own china - twice.  I participated in a grocery story giveaway - the plates were a dollar a piece with a grocery bill of over XXX.  White china with a border of tiny roses on it.

Then, I came into china big time.  A friend had been in an earthquake and her china hutch fell over, breaking much of the china.  Since her insurance company bought her a new set, she asked if I wanted what was left of the broken set.  Of course I did. Most of the cups were broken, but not all.  The saucers were enough, most of the plates, and odd bits and pieces.  For years our family dined with our company using the Earthquake China and telling the story of how we came to have it.  Later, one of my daughters got the Earthquake China.

Over the years, I've enjoyed switched out the china, or pottery, or whatever and having a new look at our family table.  I usually bought them at clearance sales for about a dollar a plate and I only bought dinner plates, salad plates, and dessert plates.  If there were enough plates (a dozen was a good number for us) then it didn't matter about how many of the others we had.  When I got tired of them, I gave them to a charity thrift shop.

My granddaughter Laura has the blue and white Bavarian china my grandmother gave to me.  With the china I told her the story of it.  It's not a complete set.  Life has been experienced.

Once, after taking a set of pottery to a thrift store, I was browsing the store when I heard the cashier selling my plates to the next buyer.

Through most of our 55 years of marriage, our dinnerware was cheap and came with stories.  Most of it was beautiful.  That's a requirement.

Recently when our cobalt blue glass plates began to show hard use, I knew it was time to buy more.  I decided to buy some forever plates.  Now I could afford to pay a little more, but I still went to Cost Plus where they were selling out their dinnerware.

I had to go to two stores before I had my 12 plates and 12 lunch plates.  I love them.  I decided to buy a set with little decoration, planning to change the look with new place mats or table cloths.  (The every-day stainless is still a big mishmash from whatever had survived.)  I love my new dinnerware:  creamy white with a rough terra cotta edge.  (They chip and have flaws.  The few chips are terra cotta color.)

And then there were the bowls.  Not cereal bowls, but nice round serving bowls. (I'll tell you another time about serving bowls.)  I didn't need them.  I didn't have room to store them.  I loved those bowls.  So I decided on one.  I love it.



  1. I think I'd rather have dishes with stories, than a perfect set sitting in a cupboard. :)

    I love dishes and serving pieces. I wish I had tons of storage to hold more than one set--like Martha Stewart. It's fun to mix and match and have fun with setting the table.

    Happy New Dishes, my friend!

  2. I was once on my own on the East Coast at Williamsburg. I explored that place from beginning to end. My favorite place was the home of the Roosevelt's. Mrs Roosevelt had a large room dedicated to storing her china. She had so many sets I don't know how she kept track of them. Maybe the servants did that chore. However I was envious of her freedom to choose what she wanted to use and the place where she stored them. I suppose Martha Stewart is like that as well.


I'd love to hear from you.