historical patterns

my family’s ties have always been strong. we love each other, we truly enjoy each other’s company, and we spend as much time together as our busy lives will allow. and those times are filled with stories and laughter, good food and memories.

after david and i became engaged, my aunt ruth called to ask if david and i would like to take a look at a couple of sets of china she has had in her possession, both of which belonged to members of ruth’s and my family. david and i were honored by this offer, and so went to ruth and rich’s house, where ruth had presented beautifully a sampling of each china pattern and their accompanying pieces.

one set belonged to my great aunt marcy and my great uncle vernoy. i have few recollections of these relatives, as i was hardly two when vernoy died and only ten when marcy joined him. but i do recall eating a thanksgiving dinner or two at marcy’s house. the pattern is made by royal copenhagen, and each plate is hand-painted, even today, in denmark. they are beautiful, with a brilliant blue flower in the center of the plate, and four smaller flowers on the basket-weaved edge.

the other set belonged to my paternal grandparents, grace and oscar, and to grandma grace’s parents before them. it is a delicate haviland pattern with wispy lilac-colored flowers. some of the serving pieces have gold trim on the handles. in addition, there is a butter dish that was designed to serve freshly churned butter. this pattern is no longer made, but pieces can be found on certain replacement sites. this is the china i remember. not even so much from dinners at grandma’s house, but from dinners at ruth and rich’s house. ruth used it for easter dinner in the years after my grandma moved into a retirement center and then after she passed away.

when we got to ruth and rich’s house, ruth presented david and me with a detailed inventory list of which pieces she had from each set, a photo of each dinner plate, and a little bit of the history behind them. i had been leaning toward the haviland from the start, having personal memories of using it and knowing that it has been in my family for so many years. as we read the cheat sheet, ruth pointed to the history of the haviland, and the following line caused my jaw to drop:

“These dishes belonged to Grandma Agda and Grandpa Charlie . . . married June 9, 1897.”

june nine, two-thousand seven, is david’s and my wedding date. one hundred ten years later to the day.

with the reading of that sentence, our choice was made.

while my brother and sister-in-law were here for christmas, ruth told them of her offer to us, and then offered them the royal copenhagen. they graciously accepted, saying that, if they had been given the choice first, they would have chosen the royal copenhagen. i think this was a relief to aunt ruth, who had felt badly that she hadn’t offered this option to peter and susanna when they were first married. but she had good reason. they were married almost fifteen years ago, and she still used the china. and peter and susanna, being who they are, completely understood that.

what fun it will be to use this haviland china and share its history with our guests!


mar said...

fun history. i like the royal copenhagen myself.
my former roomie plans to have her wedding on june 9, 2008 because 3 generations of her family have been married on that date. even though it's a monday.

Kelly said...

What a wonderful gift! You and David will cherish those dishes for a long, long time, all the more so for their history.

Scott said...

Wow. That is truly an amazing gift!

Small Moments of Sanity said...

I have to say I got shivers when I read the part about you having the same wedding date! Wow! What a cherished, loving and wonderful gift to pass on through generations of family. It was meant for you!

anti-wroothe said...

Now y’all can understand why our family ties are strong, and why there is love. We have a younger generation that respects us old folks and values our history and our family ties. Even better, they didn’t wait until they were young adults to demonstrate this. They’ve been good kids all along!