My Dining Table Goes Commando

I’m cleaning again… Today it was closets. Well, today The List read: take down the Christmas tree and decorations, but. Well. One thing led to another, and I ended up in the closet. First looking at a box of old pictures. And then I found a box of my grandmother’s china.

And so I unpacked the china, and now I’m not sure what to do with it. At first I thought I’d smash it up and make a mosaic -something.

When I mentioned this idea to Hubs, he was all negative about it …Won’t that be sharp? Ugh. Men. they have no vision. He probably figured I’d smash up massive amounts of china and start gluing large hunks of jagged glass to the kitchen walls or something.

I was thinking about making a mosaic table. Duh.

But as I dug deeper into the box of china, and I carefully unwrapped each dish, I imagined my grandmother walking home (because she didn’t have a driver’s license) from the ‘center’ (of town) which was a five mile round trip; carefully hand-carrying each piece of china from the grocery store where she purchased it with stamps she accumulated from each grocery purchase.

Then I remembered the summers of my childhood, with my paternal grandparents in Union, New Jersey; having tea from these china cups, and dessert on these china plates, with aunts, cousins and neighbors-like-family (for years I thought we were related to the neighbors); we always sat at the lace covered dining room table, and not at the kitchen table. Because that’s how things were, especially if you were almost-fresh-off-the-boat, Irish Catholic, like my grandparents. Family and friends ate off china, and they ate in the dining room; you always had the finest Italian desserts on hand, a tea kettle (ket’l) and a clean white lace table cloth. Unplanned and unannounced visits with friends and neighbors-like-family were welcomed, and they were dining room and china occasions, and my grandmother was always prepared.

But I grew up (mainly) in Florida. And so I really just don’t know what to do with china. Or unannounced guests. We have Fiestaware, and we use it everyday, because it’s everyday-ware. I mean, I have china. I have Spode Christmas china, but I can’t remember the last time we used it. Hubs and I are native Floridians (read: casual). When our friends and family come over it’s planned, and announced; everyone gathers in our kitchen, at our breakfast bar (it seats six); our dining table gathers dust. We eat off of my everyday Fiestaware,or sometimes just cocktail plates. I don’t own a tea ket’l, or white lace anything, except for maybe underwear.

And I can’t help but wonder why my grandmother never completed her grocery store china set. By the time I was born (I’m the oldest grandchild) my grandparents were very well off financially, so she could have easily sprung for the high end china, but she didn’t; my gram always used this incomplete, inexpensive set. This was her only set of china. And she never added to it; it has a dozen cups, saucers, sugar bowl, creamer, and a few serving bowls, some monkey bowls, some dinner plates, a few salad plates and zero soup bowls. Odd. But obviously this set was perfect for tea and dessert; and sentimental.

Which makes it important to me. Therefore I’m not going to smash it to make a mosaic. And no Hubs, I’m not going to glue it to the walls. (eyeroll)

I found a space for my gram’s china in our kitchen cabinet, and I’m going to use it the next time we entertain family, and friends-like-family. Or maybe I’ll use it the next time it’s just me and Hubs and we’re feeling fancy.

Maybe I’ll even get a white lace table cloth. Yeah. Probably not. I have my boundaries, and white lace is for underwear.

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