in my cupboard


He didn’t want anything with little fussy flowers. I was not interested in gold rims, or anything too fancy. That seemed to rule out about 95% of china patterns where we stood in Richs, in 1994, with a daunting registry list in hand.

The whole idea of registering for china and crystal is really funny. We are now as we were then, chunky pottery and big water glass people, dishwasher and microwave safe. But we were also really young, and in 1994 in the South, when you were getting married, you filled out a big list of formal things for people to buy you as wedding presents. The list seemed to promise a lifetime of dinner parties and late nights hand-washing.

We circled warily around precarious displays in our jeans and tee shirts, looking more like high school students than a couple of college graduates, one a second lieutenant, squinting down an aisle into the future.

We found this pattern and were in immediate agreement, delighted with its mosaic motiff, its rich jewel tones looking like tiny tiles. Over the weeks to come, we unwrapped plate after plate, cups and saucers, sugar and creamer. It traveled to an apartment in Virginia, Army housing in North Carolina, and finally back to the town where I was born, where we met and fell in love.

And over time, the plates met little hands, and tile floors, and the edges of the counters. As the number of pieces dwindled, I packed the Mikasa San Marco away in favor of our plain white dishes, which are plentiful and about which I am unsentimental.

During a recent attic clean out, I found the box that contained what is left of those place settings. There was more there than I imagined, and I was reminded of my fortunate choice. These dishes are still beautiful, their colors more vivid than I recalled. And I am even more deeply in love with that young man who keeps smiling at me over the rim of his cup, morning after morning.

I washed the plates and cups that remain, and stacked them in the cupboard. Once again I am filling the bowls with soup, the plates with spaghetti. Using them now is a bit like unwrapping a forgotten present, love with a little age on it.


joining, at least for today,

in these daily prompts for November,

found via The Habit of Being


12 thoughts on “in my cupboard

  1. kristinblankenship

    Missy, this makes me remember Stu and I standing in Belk trying to decide on a pattern back in 1993:) We always laugh about hearing a lady walking by at the time who said to her friend, “I remember when I was young and used to dream!” Our China is still packed away in boxes in the attic….I am often consider trying to sell it and purchase a set of chunky hand-made pottery!

    1. adailyportion Post author

      Ah, Kristin, I think it is all in what works for you. These dishes brought me so much joy that it was a shame to keep them packed up because they were getting broken. Better to enjoy them while they last! But if your packed away china was chosen for someone else’s expectations, or does not make you smile, by all means, sell it and get something that speaks to you!

    1. adailyportion Post author

      Ah, Tonia, I am glad. I have such rueful affection for that very young bride and groom, choosing all those formal things. So happy that among all the fancy we found these dishes that looked like who we really were, and we still like them. One of the many fun discoveries of letting other things go.

  2. Kathie

    I think your china is lovely! inherited my mother’s Royal Albert Petit Point china. I always loved it as a child and would insist on my mom using it. I think she would have left it in the china cabinet. So she gave it to me and I love using it – but only for bdays, Christmas, Easter and special occasions. Blue Willow is for everyday – it’s my husband’s favourite.

    1. Missy K

      And I’m with your husband Kathie– I love Blue Willow. I remember it growing up. I think we can ha ve such personal associations with dishes– after all, we see and use them a lot!

  3. renee @ FIMBY

    We choose a plain white Royal Doulton pattern called Tangent. We have used those dishes every day (except when camping) of our 17 year marriage. They are dinner party dishes (potlucks more like it), everyday dishes, sometimes even “place a plate under this indoor flower pot” dishes. A few plates are broken, and one is now chipped but they are still going strong.

    I am not sentimental either but these dishes have served us well and so I feel a slight attachment to them, plain Jane as plane Jane gets, after all these years.


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