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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Grandma Dolly's Dishes

Some of my most cherished belongings are items handed down to me from others whom I am most fond of such as my great-grandmother, Dolly. Dolly came from a large family of hard workers. She was born in Oklahoma to day laborers, the middle of thirteen children, four of which were two sets of twins.

My great-grandmother was the most loving person I knew growing up. She was my comfort and at one point in my life even my mother. When I lived with my father when I was very young, she rescued me from that dreadful place after I caught pneumonia. I remember it was cold and snowing outside and that she led me to her warm car where she took me back to her home. I lived with her for a few months. It was one of the most happiest times of my childhood. I absolutely adored my great-grandmother and wanted to live with her forever.

My great-grandmother enjoyed the simple things in life. She played house with me. She fashioned all my Barbie doll clothes with her sewing machine. She set the oscillating sprinkler out for me to play in when it was warm outdoors. She took me to the farmers market to buy cantaloupe. She cooked the best fried eggs and toast for breakfast. She made the best banana pudding.  In fact, I make my banana pudding the same as she did to this day.

Some of my most beloved recollections of my great-grandmother included the family sitting together at Thanksgiving at my Grandma Dolly's home and eating off her finest china plates--elegant white dishes with a simple silver wheat pattern. Indeed, my consideration for purchasing pure white dishes for college stemmed from my great-grandmother's choice in dinnerware. I was equally happy when I got married that one of my wedding gifts was a new pure white dinnerware set with a clean raised acorn emboss.

Over the past few years that I have owned my great-grandmother's china which was passed down to me, I have searched the internet trying to find peices of her Fukagawa Arita Pattern No. 928. I've added a few peices to complete her twelve peice setting and eventually I will finish it. It is my way to honor my great-grandmother and to show appreciation to her since I was never able to show or tell her how much I loved her as she passed away when I was just eight.

They may be just dishes to someone else, but for me my Grandma Dolly's dishes are symbolic of the simple things in life that need to be cherished and remembered. For me, Grandma Dolly's dishes are adulation of both memories past and present--an admonition to foster good memories with the ones I treasure.


Chef E said...

You know how many times I heard that growing up, so I became a disturbed girl thinking I looked like a bug! LOL

I look and look for dishes I want to buy at thrift and antiques stores, and now see the set I would give up something for, and its on your site! Not sure if my grandmother had a set, since my dad's sister got all the contents of the house, and sold them, saying that it was all junk!

Nice memories...

Linn said...

I've been following you for a few weeks now and I love your posts. I love your posts and often times it reminds me to slow down and really enjoy my kids while they are still small. 8 dd and 4 ds's Twins.

Inge' said...

One Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law gave me her "everyday china" that she got as a wedding gift. I do not have the complete set, but I still cherish it! I did not want to take it at first, thinking she would give it to her daughter, but she insisted and I am glad I did now. She was married over 50 years before my father-in-law passed so it has a very special meaning to my hubs. He talks about eating on those very dishes.

Everyday Girl said...

Aawww... what a nice way to honor your great grandmom! You have inspired me to take photos of the only two pieces of my mom's china I have. I shall visit our local antique market and see if anything there matches them. Lovely!

mtpeke said...

For additional pieces of your grandmothers patter try...

They are located a coupld miles from where I live. They should be able to help you with the pattern. I get regular emails with my patterns of the items they have in stock. great place, great customer service.

I too cherish items given to me by my grandmother that make my house a home.

DangGina said...

Family heirlooms are the best. And ps, your great-grandma's dishes are BEAUTIFUL! One of the prettiest patterns I've ever seen. Lucky!

Mindee said...

I'm a fan of simple china patterns too. Mine is white with just a black and silver band. Yours comes with a good story and memories though which makes it even more beautiful!

Screwed Up Texan said...

Chef E, So sad to hear you werent able to see what your aunt sold.

Linn, Thank you very much.

Inge', Love the memories that certain items take us back to. I am sure it was an honor to be given those dishes.

Everyday Girl, Do take pics! Then one day perhaps you can complete the set.

mtpeke, I have visited and I have found my great-grandmother's set there. I have also checked on Ebay and found them as well. Thanks for the tip!

DangGina, I love the simplicity and yet elegance of the dishes!

Mindee, You have great taste in dinnerware too. Love the set you bought recently.

LoveFeast Table said...

Sounds like a LoveFeast moment to me!

Amy @ Living Locurto said...

I love family collections. I have a lot of dishes that have been passed down to me and some furniture and benches my Granddad made.

I'm laughing at your comment today!! LOL! YES... I'm old... go on rub it in:-) hee. I have a good friend who's going to her 10 year reunion this weekend. We laughed about that. My kids keep me young:-) I'm sure I'll be one of the only ones with preschoolers at my reunion. Many have kids starting college! eek! I had way to much fun in my 20's to have kids then. ha!

Lori said...

This is such a touching post. I have quite a few pieces from both of my grandmothers that I treasure. My one grandmother was quite wealthy and came from an era when it seemed they had different dishes for everything (at least the wealthy did). I have a set of china dishes of hers that are specifically for serving and eating artichokes. There is an indentation where the artichoke is supposed to sit and then the rest of the plate is flared up a bit to hold the petals. Can you imagine?!? I hardly have room to store them, and almost never use them, but can't bear to part with them because I find them simultaneously hilarious and special.

On another note, I just finished reading the novel, "Broken For You" by Stephanie Kallos. This post tied in eerily well with that storyline. If you haven't read it, you might enjoy it.

Screwed Up Texan said...

Love Feat Table, Yes it does!

Amy, But seriously if you can plan my oldest's first party (he'll be seven) I'll love you forever. And you do look way younger than you are...but then again I have sisters your age and older so maybe I just feel older (no never!).

Lori, Sounds like a good book. There's another book I want to read so perhaps I can get both.

Lillian G. Rose said...

Hi, My name is Lilly and my mom (Ruth Ann) is a fraiche soap sales rep. I have a blog called Tween Rant ( and I have followed you and would love it if you would follow me!

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