Thursday, June 17, 2010

things and Things

While we were in CA Daddy wanted us to go through some of the (mountains of) kitchen stuff so that he had more room in the cupboards.  We went through the mugs and he picked out a dozen or so that he liked and we loaded the rest into the van to take to Goodwill.  We rearranged glasses in other cupboards to mostly fit in the space left by the mugs.

We went through some of the baking pans and got rid of several dishes that probably won't be used anymore.  The tricky thing is that we wanted to keep enough "stuff" around so that, when we all come home for, say, Thanksgiving one year, we'll have plenty of pots, pans, and serving trays to still have a family dinner. And really, our family won't be getting smaller anytime soon.  I did get to take home two beautiful wooden "toastmaster trays" and a stainless serving tray.  I haven't figured out where to put them yet :) but they're lovely to have around, reminding me of Momma.

It's funny the things that you want to keep when you lose someone close to you.  So many gatherings of our family were centered around the kitchen--food of all sorts was very important to Momma.  We all have distinct memories of this or that food which only made appearances for certain occasions.  We all have a favorite dish (or seven) that Momma would make..  and we all have those foods we weren't too fond of!  Likewise with dishes and china and cups and mugs and such.  Some Things we treasure dearly and everyone wants to keep them. For other things, we really wondered why Momma even had them (like the collection of computer company mugs that Momma kept for Daddy--even though Daddy didn't particularly care for them).   Such is life, I suppose :)

One of the Things that was very important to my mother was china (and crystal--and other hostess/entertaining accoutrements).  Did you know my mother had six sets of china?  And four sets of crystal? And, while I'm listing things, she also had four patterns of silverware!

She started with two patterns in china, Blue Danube (I picked the same pattern for my wedding china) for her every-day set, and Cleopatra for her fine china.  She picked these out when she was in high school in Japan.   My grandmother spent $100 on dinnerware for Momma that day and she got full sets for 8 in each set of china.  Yes--full service for 8 (including serving dishes!) was only $50 in Japan at that time. Incredible. [as a comparison, one place setting in Blue Danube these days runs for $200.]  Vivian will inherit the Cleopatra (and Momma's bronze silverware from Asia).

Over the years, she increased her two patterns to many more place settings. I think she has service for at least 12 in the Cleopatra now, and service for something like 24 in the Blue Danube (which is really more like two sets).  Serving dishes innumerable--and of all shapes and sizes.  She even has full tea and coffee service in each pattern.

Once she moved to the desert, Momma fell in love with Lois Hinman's pottery and built her collection of the blue petroglyph (on the right) up to service for 8 with serving pieces.  This also was one of the things Daddy wanted "cleared out" from the cupboards.  My brother and I split the set--I got the plates and bowls and he got the serving pieces (he has pottery already that will go well with the petroglyph).  I'm so excited to get these dishes.  I didn't realize just how much I really did want it until it was settled and set aside for me. They have always been favorites of Taylor, too.  Daddy (very graciously) said the "JLM estate" will increase the set to 12 for me, and add a couple serving pieces, so Summer went to Lois and commissioned more pieces.  I should have them by Christmas. I cannot wait :)

Another set of china Momma acquired in CA was the "kutani."  I don't know what the proper name of the pattern is--I'm not even sure there is a proper name.  It's all hand-painted Japanese fine china and there are as many "kutani" patterns as there are painters, I believe.  We all loved this set--it was so striking and so bright.  This is the set my brother wanted, his first set of fine china from Momma.

The other set of china Momma has is a Noritake pattern called Effingham.  None of us are sure what to do with it yet :) but I'm sure we'll figure it out eventually.

I know that, for the next several years, any trip home to Daddy's house will probably involve sorting through more of Momma's things (and through some of her Things, too).  We will get rid of a lot and leave a lot in the house and probably take a lot with us.  In a very tangible way, I think it helps with the grieving process.  As you sort through the various physical objects the person has left behind, you are also able to sift through your memories, weighing each of them in turn, and treasuring those most dear until you see her again. I do look forward to the day when we go to Daddy's house just to visit, but I am thankful that we have time to remember Momma in her Things and in each other.

1 comment:

  1. Your Momma knew what was important: Food makes people gather. The gathering is important.