coming home

This week I've been in a cabinet reshuffling mode.
I've been ruthless with the things I rarely use that are easily replaced if I ever have a notion to need them again.
Some things are neither easily replaced nor easily attained.
When I was in grade eight, my mom decided it was time for me to start my hope chest.
The first thing that needed to be decided was the china pattern.
It wasn't a difficult decision for me and I've never seriously been disappointed with it.
Sweet Violets made by Royal Albert was given to me for birthdays and Christmas.
It wasn't until I was engaged that the table settings really began to accumulate.
By the time we were married I could easily have several couples over for dinner. . .
and we did often.

My sister in law Heidi also collected Sweet Violets and she herself had enough to have several couples over for dinner .. .
and they did.
Then, Gerry and Heidi felt the call to ministry and they moved across the country to go to school. Most of their belongings that they really didn't need were sold and I purchased her place setting of Sweet Violets.
Now. . . we could have a house full of dinner guests .. .
and we did.
Many years later, Gerry and Heidi moved back to our province and when our parents passed away, I decided that Heidi could have my mother's china since she didn't have any of her own.
This worked wonderfully for me.. . .
She had enough china to host large dinner parties .. .
and they did.
We sat at the table with my mom's china .. .
still with family.

Gerry and Heidi have now moved not just back to our province .. .
but back to our town.
Gerry and Heidi have come back. . .
the china has come back.
Is Heidi a china girl? Well, partly ... but partly not.
She has decided that her new soon to be urban decor will make the china feel a bit odd.
So .. .we had it out. . .(can't you see?)
No, we didn't really. Since the set was large, half of it will go to her daughter,
who will be able to have several couples over for dinner. . .
and the rest came home to be with me.
Mom's china .. .
I washed it. . .and took everything out of my china cabinet and
told the two sets that they have much history together and
they are privileged to be set together.
I think mom would be happy with the arrangement.
Oh, but the story isn't over yet.
When I was perhaps just born, my mom got her first dish set.
This was our company set. Not real fine china ..
but china. .
I remember setting the table for company many times with this simple pink rose dish set.
She was so careful with it. It was her best and she hoped it would last her many years.
Well, it did.
When she passed away, I took it home.
She would have never parted with it.
She was sentimental. . .does that surprise you?

I packed it up and sent it home with Bea.
She hadn't started collecting a china set in grade 8.
She never knew my mom. . . .but I tell her stories of her. . .often.
She listens and understands my sentimentality.
These dishes will never end up at the local thrift shop. . .don't bother going to check.
Perhaps, one day Bea will begin to collect her own china pattern,
but for now, she was happy to take home the pink rose dishes.
I feel good that it has a home.

Centennial Rose. . .

Sweet violets. . .once in the same house,
and now, in the same cabinet.

I have no idea how I could sit here and shed tears at this story. .
It's dishes. . .

Have a wonderful day my friends,


  1. Sweet violets are just perfect for someone with a February birthday! I don't think I've ever seen Centennial Rose.

    I'm rather sentimental myself...and am often sorry I parted with reminders of the past. Enjoy your fine china!

  2. I can totally understand why you'd shed tears ... When those dishes were in the same house, your mom was there too. There's an innocense
    integrated into the whole memory and a wisdom that has replaced it.
    Dishes are the silent witnesses of meals shared ... which includes the preparations, the laughter around the table and the clean up afterward. Yes, they are just dishes, but I think the lucky (blessed) people can understand the sentimental value.

  3. oh my dear...those aren't just dishes........and i get the tears.
    anneliese said it beautifully!!!

  4. It's not so much the dishes as the memories..I cry with you, you know that set you gave Bea is exactly the same set that my Mom had but I don't remember what happened to it..makes me sad!

  5. i understand your feelings about the dishes. my mom only had one set of nice china, and only 4 place settings, but i cherish those dishes, and i will never part from them either - no thrift shop for them!

  6. I understand the tears completely as my Mom's dishes took home in my china cabinet this year too. Your birthday this year was the first time I used them as I knew you would appreciate the sentiment. I feel as Anneliese does. Oh the stories we could all tell about meal together with family and friends. We too did the half and half arrangement with several 'extra' pieces going to the 'sis-in-laws' to enjoy. What a special gift for Bea and for your niece. Kathy PS Thanks again for the MANY meals we have been treated to at your place and served on sweet violets.

  7. ooh, i really love the simple rose pattern. i didn't collect dishes in gr.8 either. i was too busy collecting boyfriends. in hindsight, i wish i had chosen china instead!

  8. Beautiful post... beautiful china...

    My second daughter has my mother's big service for 12. It's a good thing. One of the last things my mother did before her memory went was to send Jessica the china, plus a beautiful primitive cupboard and her baby grand piano...from California to Pennsylvania. Only one piece of china did not make it.
    Pretty good, I think.

    Thanks for stopping by today.

  9. I understand completely.
    What a beautiful way to talk over family stories: over the dishes which were there as the stories were being made.

  10. I love your story! I have never in my life had good china. Never! It's something I've missed out on, I think! Perhaps it's time I treated myself! Then they can be handed on to my daughter!


  11. Thank you for sharing - Your blog today touched a very sentimental note for me as "my mother's china set" has just come home to me last week - she passed away in January - & is now organized into the same space as my "wedding china" as well. My goal - at one point in my life - was to have a different set of dishes for every month of the year, although that has not happened. Anneliese said it well however, as the table brings many happy moments together for friends and family. Elma

  12. What a precious story Lovella..I am quite sentimental myself..I have little things that belonged to my grandmother. When I use them on special occasions I think of her...I think of when she used these lovely things that were passed on to me..I will pass them on to my girls as well. I think for me, these little treasures I now have, were her liking..her feminine delicate taste....and so symbolic of her sweetness....Thank you for such a nice post...

  13. Bea is a lucky lady. I love the simple rose set too.

  14. I understand the tears. I am sure that Bea will treasure those dishes. Thanks for sharing the story.

  15. Well that's just it, it isn't "just dishes." I think your mother loves knowing what's going on with the dishes and all the sharing and the joy. What a wonderful post, Lovella.

  16. Lovella what a wonderful post. I'm reading it a day late, but still enjoying it! I have always loved my Mom's fine china dishes too - her pattern was called "Gold Pandora" by Minton. I remember when I was younger, as you also mentioned, setting the table for company that was coming over - that "job" seemed to fall on me and I enjoyed doing that so much. Several years ago, knowing my passionate love for those dishes, my Mom gave me her fine china set. Since my Mom passed away 3 weeks ago now, they are even more precious to me than ever! Lori T

  17. goodness....even the most 'stoic' of souls would be moved by your post today. I have to be the least sentimental of the girls in my family but the few dishes I have accepted from my mother as she moved into her retirement home have been wonderful memory triggers. Who would have ever thot that a pattern beneath that wondeful baking placed upon it would bring back all the smemories, smells and blessing of a mother's kitchen.

    Thanks for the great post

  18. Lovella;

    Love your violets and your sentimental dishes story. Happy memories, hold on to them and enjoy your dinner parties too!

    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  19. Just dishes. . .oh my. . .just dishes. . .my heart is relating to yours. My mother and I had a thing about 'just dishes' too. Interesting how simple objects become so cherished. . .and provide a common tie or bond to our roots. Since my mother and I both loved china, and my sis valued none, I have all her sets and mine safely either being used or put away. . .until all mom's grandson's marry and set up homes of their own. Then I will start, like you, to share stories and memories, using china as the elemental key to relationships. Great post, Lovella. I totally understand the tears.


  20. Love the Royal Albert dishes. I don't think I've ever seen Centennial Rose. I love pretty dishes and especially enjoying company around the table with the dishes...


Post a Comment

Thank you!