Thinking about dishes…..

That’s what I’m doing this morning. I love dishes.

Our only set at the moment is the one I got from my grandmother:

She had this set, as far as I know, from the time she got married up until I was grown or nearly grown and she finally bought new china. She had eight kids, so, while I’m sure it probably started out with 12 place settings, by the time it came to me a lot of pieces had been lost along the way. Cereal bowls are particularly rare. I’ve filled in some with pieces from ebay and Replacements, Ltd. so that it’s now kind of a motley collection–I have approximately one million dinner plates, 6 or 7 dessert plates, one cup and saucer, and I think 2 cereal bowls (we lost another one of those just a month or two ago). But still I love them.

They’re Syracuse china, and the pattern is called Red Roxbury. I think, although I’m not sure, that it’s railroad china. My grandmother said it was restaurant ware, but at some point when I was looking all over to figure out the name of the pattern, I remember deciding it was actually railroad china. At any rate, they are very thick and solid, which is a good thing when you have 8 kids or even “only” 4 boys like we will. But they’ll still break when you drop them. Syracuse made the same pattern but with more…delicate dishes, and that one’s called Mayflower (how colonial!) I have some of those plates, too, that I’ve picked up over the years. Mayflower is generally easier to find and cheaper. But the cereal bowls are still exceedingly obscure.

We didn’t register for any china when we got married, because we had no need for (and nowhere to put) formal china, and we already had these dishes for every day.

But now that I have some space, as I aspire to be someone with lots of dishes. Because I love them. Back when we lived in Boston, I found these Johnson Brothers Lemon Tree dishes super cheap at a garage sale somewhere. I think I originally bought them to sell, but I loved them so much I couldn’t part with them (also, I think a lot of them were chipped, and it would have been too much of a pain to list them on ebay and carefully describe every flaw):

So pretty! I wish I still had them; I would love to pull them out in summer and have a summer set of dishes. But I gave them to a friend when we moved down here, along with Matilda, my giant ceramic pig. I miss them both to this day. The lesson here is never get rid of anything, ever! That can’t really be the lesson, because that’s a terrible lesson. And, yet….I have such a big basement now. If only I’d held on to them and found somewhere to stuff them for 10 years, I would have had plenty¬†of space for them.

I’m revisiting my special love of dishes right now because Thanksgiving is looming, and we’ll have Dave’s extended family here for it. I would love to have pretty (and somewhat more formal than the Syracuse china) dishes for it. TJ Maxx has had lovely Thanksgiving dishes with turkeys on them the last couple of times I’ve been there, and it’s taken all of my willpower not to buy them. I just can’t buy plates that only come out once a year. So what I’m thinking instead is maybe a nice, versatile set of plain white dinner plates that can be changed up for different occasions. So practical!

These have good reviews (although only 2) and are about $30 for 6 (so I’d need two sets) from Target.com:

The idea of buying plain white dishes sort of horrifies me at some fundamental level and also makes me feel kind of old. But I can see why it’s a good idea. Especially when I implement step two of the plan, which is getting dessert plates to go with them.

I want the Patch animal plates (also from Target):

They’re pretty much the only thing from the Patch line that’s not on sale, so I guess maybe I’m not the only one who wants them. They’re $20 for 4, and Target.com will only let me put 2 sets in my cart, and I need 3. I’m assuming I can buy the 2 and then come back and buy 1 more, but it’s kind of risky. Or not really, I guess, since I can always return them if I can’t get the last 4.

So that’s what I’m doing today….trying to decide whether I can spend the money on a new set of dishes for Thanksgiving or not. What to do?! Maybe I’ll go to TJ Maxx and eye those turkey plates one last time….


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