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What to do with all the China

Uncle Tommy – husband of Aunt Dolores of Rum Ball fame – was a Trainmaster for the Southern Pacific Railroad back in the glory days of rail travel. As such, he had the opportunity to buy or otherwise procure unclaimed and damaged freight and baggage. One of the things he procured was a set of china. One of those old-fashioned complete sets – with plates and platters, bouillon cups, fruit cups, soup plates, demitasse cups and saucers… all of those things genteel hostesses used to have their servants place on the table and clean up for those simple midweek dinners.

Over the years many pieces have gone missing and by the time I got it when my father was cleaning out his garage, it – like my grandmother’s china I also have – was missing too much to set a complete table. I have a few pieces that I’ve used regularly – like the platters – and several pieces on display in the hutch, but most of it has just sat downstairs in the basement collecting dust. I finally decided it’s time to start using it. It’s doing nobody any good sitting down there and I actually like it. It’s time for it to see the light of day, again!

I don’t know the actual age of the china, but it’s German porcelain. The mark on the back was used between 1925 and 1945.

There’s lots of random pieces… demitasse cups and saucers…

Bouillon cups and saucers – because everyone sets a table with bouillon cups and demitasse cups, right?!?

And then there’s Grandma’s china. Grandma was more practical. She had Homer Laughlin china made in the USofA. Lady Greenbriar. This pattern came about around 1951.

Creamer and sugar bowl, covered vegetable bowl…

An awesome teapot…

And cups and saucers, dessert plates, salad plates…

This was the stuff I remember eating from for most holidays of my youth when the folks would pack up the station wagon and haul us down to Bakersfield. Grandma had a lot of everyday dishware, as well. I especially remember the Anchor Hocking Ruby Red – so much so that I went out and bought some. It was a totally impractical purchase, but… what the hell.

Grandma also had Franciscan Desert Rose. We found some at an antique mall and it has pretty much become our everyday china, knocking the Cost Plus china down a notch. Or up a shelf, as the case may be.

It was pretty inexpensive. I also ended up getting the divided vegetable dish and a platter on Etsy for a few bucks.

And then we have Victor’s Mom’s china…

A complete service for 8 – and it is complete with serving pieces, creamer, sugar bowl, platter… It’s Towne China – the Sydelle pattern – made in Japan and classic mid-century. Japanese china was all the rage – elegant, delicate.. and reasonably affordable.

This was supposed to go to Victor’s niece, but she has conveniently not had room for it.

And then we have our Mikasa service for 8 – along with just about every side dish and serving piece they ever made. We started buying this when we first got together and for every gift-giving occasion, we’d get another footed bowl, square bowl, platter, compote… I think we have just about everything they ever made in this pattern.

And once we go through the china – and this isn’t all of it by any stretch of the imagination – we have the glassware and the unique little things…

My mom always called these Hot Chocolate Cups. They’re old but not marked. And delicate. I do not know their provenance.

We have pressed glass Christmas dishes downstairs – service for 32, I believe… 

I bought it at Kmart when we lived in San Leandro – $4.95 per service for 4. Less than $40 for the lot. I keep thinking we’re going to have Christmas Dinner one of these years so I hold onto it. You never know… It was almost sold at a neighborhood garage sale a few years ago but since it wasn’t, I decided I’m keeping it.

I suppose that one of these days we’re going to have to actually deal with all of this stuff, but in the meantime, it can sit and collect dust. Bits and pieces do come out to be used now and again and it really wouldn’t hurt to use more of it more often.

Stay tuned…












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