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19 April 2006
  Fully Stocked
Well, spent all my free time washing and drying and the china cabinet is now completely stocked. However, there is no plate rail on any of the upper shelves, so to finish up by displaying some of the serving dishes vertically, I will have to get some plate "easels." JoAnn always had the best variety, so I'll look there first.

I put all our Christmas glassware on the top shelf, along with a very pretty set of three horse glasses with gold trim that my mom saved for best. (She didn't use them a lot after three were broken, which is why there are only three.)

The second, widest shelf will display a couple of the china serving dishes and also the creamer, sugar bowl, salt and pepper shakers, and the three china serving implements: yes, there is indeed a china pie server, salad fork and salad spoon!

But then there are so many dishes to this set I had to figure them all out: dinner plates, dessert plates, and what was either bread or fruit plates; soup bowls, salad bowls, and dessert bowls; custard cups and what I guess are finger bowls (unless they are real Chinese-style teacups); cups and saucers, a covered vegetable dish, a salad bowl, a big round serving platter, a smaller dish that might have been for slices of pound cake, some other shallow bowls. I suspect a soup tureen and dipper also might have come with the set and also napkin rings, but Mom evidently didn't get them.

I had a long time to think as I carefully washed, dried, stacked (with a coffee filter between each piece, as suggested by Cook's Illustrated). I think Mom told me once she didn't want a china set—she was a sensible person and wanted a set of nice dishes, but not really a set of china. But she was told everyone got china. The set was obviously used at some point prior to it being wrapped up in 1949 newspapers as we found it: someone had served chocolate cake on some of the dessert dishes and then didn't wash them. (I can tell you right now whomever did it was not my mother or my grandmother! Both of them would have gone without sleep rather than leave dirty dishes in the sink!) I always wondered how much she regretted not having a place for them downstairs. We only had four rooms downstairs and none of them were large enough for a china cabinet. She had several pretty sets of glasses and cups, which she kept for company, in the cupboard, and we gave most of it away. Daily we ate on sensible plates and bowls that we got from Woolworths, things she didn't have to worry about chipping when she washed them.

If we'd fixed all or half the attic, we might have used what was my room as a dining room, but we never had the money to do it (and I don't think they wanted to ship me upstairs anyway; Dad knew I would have needed an air conditioner to survive up there in the summer—downstairs was hot enough!). I would have missed the attic, though; it was my favorite place to creep up to on rainy or snowy days, even when it was freezing cold, to look at the old newspapers and the World War II maps cut from them or the Hurricane Book or the old photos and the snapshot of Dad with the fawn.

It's a lovely pattern, Royal China, and the pattern is Hollywood. It's sort of a small bouquet of flowers. There's a largish flower that looks a bit like a tulip, a couple of daisy-shaped flowers, and some other blossoms. They are not properly a fall pattern, but there are enough oranges and purples in it that it gives the impression of sort of a going-on-fall arrangement. The dishes are edged with 22-carat gold in a filigree pattern.

After an inquiry on rec.arts.antiques, I found out this pattern was not very popular. I checked out an antique dealer's page of Royal China patterns and couldn't understand why—some of the popular patterns are downright ugly, at least to me. I think Mom picked out a very pretty set!

The bulk of the rest of the things are the set I call "the blue glasses." It is mostly glassware of a rich cobalt blue color: tea glasses, tumblers, juice glasses, and some tiny glass that I can't figure out what you were supposed to put in it, plus goblets with crystal-clear stems. Also there are a set of dinner plates and salad plates and a salt and pepper shaker set, all in the same blue glass, as well as a fluted-neck vase. There were originally six vases. When Dad brought Mom red roses on Valentine's Day or her birthday or on Mother's Day, Mom would use the blue vases to display the roses. One by one they were broken until there were two left and James unfortunately dispatched another while we were packing them up. Now we have the lone vase.

I put some other things on the buffet top: Willow's biscuits, other treats, and the other cookie jar, plus the two ceramic apples (one is a bowl shape and the other an apple container) that were formerly on the table. The table is so nice and clear now! Just the napkin holder and salt/pepper shakers, the little turntable with the sugar, Splenda, toothpicks, and Sweet'n'Low, the two burgundy candles, and the bouquet in the middle. We don't have to clear off a lot of things any longer to eat there; it's wonderful.

I also have put up the cow-motif picture over the old microwave cart, which now holds our mugs, my stoneware dishes, and the stand mixer, and the two wonderful "Thurber dog" plates that my friend Sherrye gave me as a gift one year. I finally mounted the apple garland around the door to the deck.

Also washed all the slipcovers and throws in the living room. Been wanting to do that for a couple of weeks, but waited until there was no extraneous stuff that needed to be stored there until it found a place.

Now I need to finish the fall cross-stitch for the dining room. There's a special place left open for it between the cabinet and the cart.