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THE DISHES FIND A HOME
4 May 2013
A couple of days ago I posted this picture
I said that I was going to be looking for a buyer for them. For all the years that my mother has lived in her mobile home, I have said that the only two things I wanted from her house was the lamp which caused so much family friction recently, and which I now have, and these dishes.
The dishes belonged to my godmother, whose husband was my grandmother's cousin, an attorney for the city of San Francisco (he might have been assistant Atty General, I'm not sure). I never met my grandmother's cousin, but I remember his wife as a tall slender woman, always impeccably dressed and with snow white hair. Her hair had turned white in her 20s.
When she died of ovarian cancer, when I was about 10, she had no children and no relatives, other than my grandmother, who was furious that Babe left everything in her beautiful flat to my mother. My grandmother had been waiting all her life for Babe to die so that she could inherit her things. But no. My mother got it all and graciously offered to let my grandmother take whatever she wanted, but, feelings hurt and feathers ruffled, Nannie declined. She did take a lovely blue knit 2-piece dress that would have looked beautiful on my mother and a fox fur (one of those furs where the fox is biting its tail to hold the piece on the wearer's shoulders. I always thought those were so cool until I became aware of animal rights issues. Now I think they are abominable).
So anyway, my mother got the dishes and the glass cabinet that they are in. I really wanted them, and, as her mind began to forget, I reminded her several times not to give the dishes away because I wanted them.
I wanted them because of the story behind them. And also because they are simple, yet beautiful and elegant. They are white Bavarian china with a real gold rim.
There is also matching crystal water and wine goblets with the same gold rim on it.
But it's the story behind them that I didn't know anybody would appreciate. Babe and Gus were given service for 6 as a wedding gift. They came from the City of Paris, a very fancy, upscale department store in San Francisco. They had been imported from Germany, as the stamp on the back shows.
But with the approaching start of World War II, the City of Paris stopped dealing with Germany entirely and called my godmother to let her know that if she wanted to buy additional pieces of her set, she should do it immediately or it would no longer be available. She ordered an additional service for 6, so there is now service for 12, only the dishes in the second set are slightly larger and I didn't take a picture of the print on the back of one of those plates, but where it says "Germany" on this plate it says "City of Paris" on the newer plates. I just like having that historical connection (like I wanted the lamp because it was taken from the ruins of a mansion after the 1906 earthquake and fire).
However, as we make plans for my mother's move and I think about the practicality of taking the dishes myself, I realize that (1) I have absolutely NO place to put the cabinet and the dishes, and (2) with family holiday dinners now shifting to Santa Barbara, it is unlikely that I will ever give another dinner party where I can even use them.
My mother hoped Jeri would take them, but I know that Jeri is in the same position--first, no place to put them, and second no real "formal" dinners where she would use them, even if she and Phil could get them all to Boston.
Ned and Marta moved to a smaller house and have been downsizing and had to give away a lot of things, and they also have nice dishes too and I didn't think they would want them.
I never even thought to ask Tom because whenever I offer them things, it seems that they have already had something similar handed down from Laurel's family and so they have no need of whatever it is that I am offering.
But after I posted the picture of the dishes on my journal, I had a note from Laurel asking if they could take the dishes. Tom is such an "entertainer" that they would use them often, and she likes the idea of being able to hand this family heirloom down to one of the girls when they grow up.
My mother is thrilled that the dishes will stay in the family, as am I, and I am thrilled that Laurel and Tom will have to take on the responsibility of wrapping, packing, and moving them and I don't have to worry about it! Laurel promises that we will have a fancy dinner at their house after Bri's "graduation" from pre-school next month and she will use Babe's good dishes.
The torch...and the dishes...have been passed!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
It's too bad I don't have cute grandchildren.
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