The Good China

Hello, darlings! Suze here. Hope it’s warm, sunny, and tropical wherever you are. (In my imagination I am writing to you from a beach in Hawaii! Wish you were here!)
Do you have “good” china? Maybe you got it for your wedding, or it was passed down to you, or you bought it at a flea market, but I’m talking about the special dishes that you only use on special occasions.
I’ll let you in on a little secret about me (we Scribes just lo-o-o-ve our secrets, don’t we?)—I have a thing for dishes. I don’t know why, or where this little obsession came from, but if it’s shiny and made of china, crystal, or glass, I love it and I want it and I want more of it—the whole collection!
Here’s what I have:
140[3]Mikasa Imperial Rose. This is my wedding china, and I still think it’s beautiful, don’t you? I got lots of place settings as wedding gifts, but I didn’t get any completer pieces. Less than a year later, the pattern was discontinued! Which means the price on the completer pieces went way out of the range I was willing to pay. Periodically I check Ebay and nothing’s gotten any cheaper. I mean, a gravy boat (mmmmm, gravy!) with underplate is listed right now at $358. Umm, no. My gravy must go into a non-matching boat. I was able to score a sugar bowl and creamer for a really low price though!
140[2]Noritake Margaret. This is a set of very pretty dishes I inherited from my mother-in-law, who got it from her sister, who had another sister buy it, I think, at a discount while her husband was in the Navy. I have all the pieces I’ll ever need of this pattern (including the gravy boat!).

IMG_20130110_061106Universal Ballerina Cherry Blossom/Oriental Flower. This was my mother-in-law’s set when she got married and I believe these were her everyday dishes. Wish she was still here to tell me for sure. This pattern is difficult to find. Not sure if it’s because it’s rare, or if it’s because people who are selling it don’t know the name of the pattern (I’ve seen two different names for it), but I’ve only ever found it for sale once. Some of the pieces I have are pretty beat up—but that means mom actually used it, right?
I have other sets of dishes—did I say it was an obsession? But I’ll save those for another post.
As I was putting away the Mikasa after Christmas, I wondered again why I don’t use these dishes more often. And why we don’t eat in the dining room more than a couple of times a year—well, this one I sort of know. Because I do most of my writing and editing at the dining room table, it’s often covered in one project or another, and it’s just easier to eat at the kitchen table. So I’ve resolved to keep the dining room table clean, and to pull out one set of dishes or another on a regular basis—even though they have to be handwashed. They’re beautiful, and they bring me joy, and they hold memories. Dishpan hands are a small price to pay.
When it comes to your writing, are saving something (a plot, a character, a setting) “for good,” instead of using it now? Don’t hold back. Use your best stuff every time! You and your stories are worth it.

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10 thoughts on “The Good China”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I also treasure the beautiful china I received at a long ago wedding, and acquired my mom’s as well. In addition, I have two sets of sterling silver flatwear. I bring it all out whenever my family is comes home for dinner -which isn’t nearly often enough these days.

  2. Good question Suze. Well, first of all, I gave my hardly used wedding china to my daughter-in-law who entertains frequently. So it finally is getting the use it deserves. Growing up anything new my mother made me save for the future. I got tired of saving stuff/clothes/china. In fact, I have been thinking of getting out my silverplate and using it for everyday. Nope, I am not saving anything in my WIP, I am grateful to have the words as they come, and not saving anything. Fun post.

    1. I can’t wait to read your story, Gail! And I say get out the silverplate, use it, and enjoy it. Shiny stuff makes you happy, and you deserve pampering every day.

  3. Pretty china, Suze! I appreciate inheriting some of your Faltzgraff pieces. I often take out the pretty plates when we entertain. I match them to the theme, mood, and food choices that will best suit the dinnerware.

    I love your analogy of saving the good stuff for some future WIP. I tend to go to the other extreme and throw the kitchen sink at my characters. In that instance, I’ve learned that more isn’t always better:-)

    1. Which reminds, me, I found the sugar bowl in the cupboard. I’ll bring it to you when I see you. As for your characters, well, hit ‘em hard. I like drama!

  4. You should read THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE. The hero is austistic, acused of murder and loves to collect china. I love that book.

  5. II have an antique set of Staffordshire, which after I received it I read up on the china and learned these sets were painted by children. (Which explains the numerous mistakes on them) Not sure how I feel about knowing children were used to make these pieces….Regardless, I use it once a year and then it goes back in the basement.

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