Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sailing into the sunset in my gravy boat.

Thank you all for the bridal registry suggestions - they have been suuuuper helpful! I love hearing what makes people happy. And if you want more awesome suggestions, hop over to Sweet Tea and Sunshine - Sherilee's readers had some great ideas, too. I would be hating life if I forgot to register for an ice cream maker, and Sherilee saved me. Thank you!

The whole china / no china debate is interesting. I love china, mostly because it's pretty - not because I have a china-using debutante lifestyle. However, the big reason why I'm not registering for china is because I have my grandma's set.

When my grandparents were moving out of the home they'd lived in for 40 years and into an assisted living facility, my grandma had a few things she was very particular about. And one of those things was that I would get her china.

I was 26 and shacking up with Ex-Ex at the time. Maybe Grandma knew he was a loser who would never marry me. Or maybe she knew that I was the one person in the family who would truly treasure the china. At any rate, it became mine.

The pattern has tiny pink and pale green flowers on it. As a youngun', I used to think it was sort of weird to have pink plates. But, then Grandma had a pink bathroom, too.

But the really weird thing? I started collecting vintage kitchen items - in pink. And my kitchen? I painted it a pale green. Without intending such a thing, I designed my kitchen around my grandma's china - the plates that she used all the time because she loved to feed her family.

I figured out in about fifth grade that the secret to eating at Grandma's was to take freakishly small portions so that you would always have room for seconds. Otherwise, both of my grandparents would assume that the food wasn't to your liking, or that you were sick. If my grandpa was serving, you had to tell him "when" early, knowing that he'd put an extra dollop on your plate.

My family still jokes, "More beans? I can heat up some more rolls. How about another piece of pie?" at pretty much every meal. It's endearing to us that these two people were so focused on nurturing the people they loved. It's even more meaningful when you think that they started their married life during the Depression, on a farm in western Kansas - my 19-year-old grandma, her groom ... and his three teen-aged brothers.

So, when I tell you that she could stretch some bread crumbs and a can of peaches into a feast? You know I'm telling you the truth.

And that's why I, personally, am not registering for china. I already have the most precious set imaginable.


Wenderina said...

Gorgeous. Nothing more beautiful than a memory in a set of dishes.

Sara said...

My grandma was mean and didn't really like me. But my Papa? He was AMAZING. My inheritance included a "Worlds Best Grandpa" mug that has a dinasaur on it. I gave it to him 23years ago. Now I use it every morning. It doesn't leave the house and it gets hand washed. Decorating your kitchen around china makes total sense to me.

Cyndi B. said...

I loved this post! We registered for china back in the day. Sold it on eBay a few years back. But my grandmothers china, not a chance! She had four sets, which worked out pretty good for her daughter and three granddaughters. My set is the prettiest though and we use it on the holidays. It reminds me of what wonderful people my grandparents were and to pace yourself when it comes to holday food. I'm still in awe of how much food they could fit on their little table.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What a lovely thing for you to inherit! I knew I wasn't getting much in the way of china from anyone, but I did get half of my Great Grandma's china and crystal (had to share half with my one cousin). It only serves 6. So we registered for china--Mr. D has a sister and I have sister more in line for good things than I am. But I proudly use my Great Grandma's "everyday" dishes for everyday--I think they were bought with those green stamps supermarkets used to give out.
YAY for you registering!

slow panic said...

That is such a sweet story.

My grandma was the same way.

We inherited my husband's grandmother's china -- and it is still in boxes at my mother-in-laws.

i'm not to much of an entertainer.

sherilee said...

I love your story about china! There is nothing better than kitchen items with a history, that's for sure.

Happy to help with the ice cream maker reminder! I never knew how much I'd love one until I had one!

Ali said...

i am truly choked up. that is a beautiful, sweet and funny story.

i'm glad you're not registering for china. you clearly have the most priceless set in the world already.